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Guests shell out plenty for fundraising crab dinner
It was tough to be a crab in Colusa on Saturday night, literally and figuratively, with Colusa firefighters serving up the crustacean delicacy to about 400 attendees at the Colusa Firefighters Association's Annual Crab & Steak Feed and Dance.
The event has been a social mainstay in Colusa for more than 30 years, continuing to draw back regulars and bring in fresh faces.
"This is my very first year here," said Patricia Pennington, who came with her twin sisters — Luanna Kimball and Phyllis Ranhaar — and their husbands to celebrate the twins' birthdays. "We're here for the whole nine yards. If someone else is cooking and doing the dishes, we're there."
"We love the fact that this is for the firefighters. We have a firefighter in the family," Kimball added.
While Pennington's group was experiencing the dinner and dance for the first time, some people had been there more times than they could accurately recall. One of those people was Doug Correa, who has been coming to the event for "at least" 20 years — missing only a couple of the dinners over that span.
"We've been coming here for a long time," said Correa, who was there with his wife, Andrea. "I like the crab, I like the food, and I like being around the people. It's a community get-together, and you are supporting the fire department — it's for a great cause. And it seems to get better every year."
In its early years, the dinner and dance served as an appreciation gathering for the department, featuring food, music and company. The event still features all of that, but over the years it has morphed into more of a fundraising function. It eventually evolved into the department's largest fundraising event.
"We do only a couple a year now. This is our biggest one. This is huge. We've had a lot of support from local businesses. Pretty much every business in town has donated something for the raffle or auction. We try to keep the event local with the food. Even the band is local," said Colusa firefighter Craig Dunn, who coordinated the event and is the Colusa Firefighters Association's president.
The proceeds from the auction — with a dollar amount that has numbered in the thousands in previous years — go toward local scholarships and a number of programs put on by the Colusa Fire Department.
The amount of funds raised this year had not been determined as of Monday afternoon, Colusa Fire Chief (and Craig's father) Randy Dunn said.
The event had "great attendance and great support from both within and outside of the community," said the elder Dunn. "A big, huge 'thank you' goes out to those who donated to this event."