Come for the Crab, Stay for the Party
Meet the volunteers who lead this successful event and give back to the community
Roseville, CA- While crab feeds are a common fundraiser for organizations, the Roseville Firefighters 1592 have taken their annual event beyond expectations thanks to the selfless efforts of the event organizers, Roseville Firefighters Eric Sanchez and Gabe Michael with essential partner Mike Regan, owner of Mr. DJ Services.
Collectively these men put in hundreds of volunteer hours for this project. Not taking all of the credit though, they humbly acknowledge that they couldn’t do it without the 125-150 volunteers who also contribute to the event each year, especially the team leads.
Tradition of giving back
This tradition began two decades ago when retired firefighter, Captain Pepper harnessed his culinary background to start the event; now the firefighters are gearing up to hold the 22nd Annual Roseville Firefighter’s Crabfest on Saturday, March 21. The food is cooked by hand for two days preceding the event, with the crab shipped in fresh the day of the crabfest.
Fire Captain Eric Sanchez says he fell in love with volunteering at the crabfest over ten years ago. “I told Captain Pepper that I wanted to learn the ropes of how he put on the event so that I could take over the planning when he retired. I started under his wing in the kitchen learning how to do the shopping and cooking. Now I do all of the logistics and Gabe is integral with fundraising and promoting the event,” Eric shares.
Firefighter Gabe Michael began volunteering at the event in 2013. It was a fun, feel-good event but Gabe says, “The cherry on top was all the profit was donated back to the community. I loved the package and I wanted to be a part of it.” Gabe found his niche in collecting donations and researching additional ways to raise money. Taking a chance the following year, Gabe recommended hiring a DJ in lieu of a live band. Soon, Mike Regan of Mr. DJ Services came into the picture and took the experience to a new level. “Guests walked in and saw and felt instant energy. Various dance groups broke out throughout the hall. Line dancing happened twice and the food hadn’t been served yet!” Gabe shares.
Thrilled with the results of the event, Captain Pepper offered the event management to Eric and Gabe. Mike’s involvement in the planning and execution is now year-round. He assures this isn’t just another job to him. “There is a sense of pride working alongside with Gabe, Eric, Roseville Fire, the Local 1592 staff and volunteers for this grass roots, community-driven event. We love being a part of something that is truly making a difference in the Roseville community and surrounding cities.”
Since this trifecta took over, the event has tripled in size and proceeds have increased by 700%.
Proceeds to the local community
The money raised goes directly back into the local community. Each year they highlight a key beneficiary. In 2019 they were able to give that beneficiary $10,000 of the $60,000 raised from the crabfest. The remaining $50,000 was distributed to over 60 local nonprofits. The recipients ranged from larger organizations like KidsFirst, to GoFundMe cases supporting individual needs, to disaster relief for families affected by the Camp Fire and Carr Fire. This year’s primary beneficiary will be Acres of Hope, which serves homeless women and children in a two-year program where they live on-site and receive encouragement, practical life skills training, job skills, mentoring and spiritual direction.
Businesses interested in sponsoring the crabfest have opportunities for great exposure and extra perks. Not an exhaustive list, some of these elements include ice sculptures with company logos, logos projected on the walls, a VIP pre-party reception, a screen rotating top level sponsor names and placemats with sponsor logos.
Eat like royalty, party like rock stars!
For those attending the event, they can look forward to bottomless salad, bread, rigatoni, cajun shrimp and dungeness crab all prepared by seasoned firefighters. “Our guests eat like royalty and party like rock stars,” says Gabe. There is a premium selection of beer and wine at two fully staffed bars to ensure very little wait time for beverages. Guests can choose from over 200 silent auctions to bid on. Spending two days creating the atmosphere with up-lighting, a large dance floor and an extensive music selection, Mike as the DJ/MC means there is never a dull moment. “All along we have wanted our crab feed to be different from crab feeds of the past resulting in a better overall experience for our guests. It is safe to say our guests are having a blast!” Mike shares.
This event sells out! Tickets, donation and sponsorship information is on their webpage, rosevillefirefighters.org/events/22nd-annual-crab-fest.
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