This time of year the fundraiser of choice for East County nonprofit groups is a good, old-fashioned crab feed. While most of the local crab feeds only go back about a decade, the crab feed has been well known throughout California as a good way to bring in money for a good cause, with some dating back more than 70 years.

In East County several groups have been gearing up for this year's events with tickets on sale as early as November. Some events warn those interested in attending not to wait too long to purchase tickets because they are moving fast. This is the case with the Ladies Only Crab Feed, which takes place next weekend at the Immaculate Heart of Mary church in Brentwood. Already the tickets are sold-out.

"As the name says, this is a ladies-only event," event coordinator Zoeann Varbier said. "The ladies look forward to the event and often purchase tickets in groups."

All money raised for this ninth annual event will go to help pay for added classrooms and a library in the church's newly completed Community Life Center building.

While the ladies event is sold-out, those working on the crab and pasta feed to support the 2013 Kids Free Fishing Derby are just getting going for their Feb. 23 event in Brentwood. This fourth annual dinner is a fundraiser for the local chapter of the California Striped Bass Association. Each year in October the local group hosts a free day of fishing for kids. Held at Contra Loma Reservoir in Antioch, the event offers children 3 to 12 a chance to learn about fishing and have a free lunch.


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"One of the main problems we worry about is the cost of crab, especially in this economy," Roger Lund, organizer of the event said. "This year crab was a little expensive, but we are keeping the cost of the event the same and expecting a good turn-out."

The event takes place at the Brentwood Veterans Memorial Building. Tickets are $40 and include beer, wine, entertainment, a large raffle and a live auction. For more information call Lund at 925-754-3938.

One of the largest and well-known events in the area is the Sons of Italy's annual Harry Brocchini Memorial Dinner, which is taking place Saturday evening. Ticket sales end a week before the event; however, many times people purchase more tickets than they need and are still handing them out to friends right up until the crab feed.

While others may primarily have crab, the Sons of Italy go all out with antipasti, shrimp cocktail, pasta, salad, marinated crab, dessert and wine. Tickets are $45 a person. For more information, call Romano Marchetti 925-757-5472 or Bruna DelChiaro 925-757-3942.

For groups like the Deer Valley High School and the Pittsburg High School marching bands, crab feeds are a way to raise money to keep up with the high cost of uniforms and field trips for their programs.

Pittsburg's event takes place on Feb. 9. Tickets for the event are $40 each. Tickets are still available for the event and further information can be found by calling 925-473-2390.

Deer Valley organizer Eric Wunderly said that this is a very good fundraiser for his group and generally sells out each year. The group has been hosting the event for more than 10 years. This year the event will be Feb. 2 at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds. It includes dinner, no-host bar, dancing, auctions and prize drawings. Music for the event will feature the Deer Valley jazz ensemble. Tickets are $45. No will be tickets sold at the door. For more information, call 925-755-2724.

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier's seventh Annual Crab Feed is set for Feb. 1. The event will be held at the Church of the Good Shepard in Pittsburg. Tickets are $50 per person. For more information, contact Mitchell Lester at 415-308-5849.

Other events include the Church of the Good Shepherd's Knights of Columbus Annual Crab Feed. The second annual event will take place on Feb. 2. Tickets are $45 each. For more information, call 925-432-6404.

The Knights of Columbus at Holy Rosary Church's annual seafood banquet will take place Feb. 16 at the church. This dinner includes everything from crab, octopus, steamed clams and clam linguine. The event helps to raise money for scholarships. Ticket are $60 each and are on sale until Feb. 1 by calling 925-754-4247.

Sutter Delta is hosting its third annual Crab Feed on March 2 at the Brentwood Community Center in Brentwood. Dinner includes all-you-can-eat crab, spaghetti, salad and garlic bread, as well as coffee and dessert. Tickets are $40 per person. To purchase tickets, call Sutter Delta Medical Center's Auxiliary at 925-756-1160.

Assemblyman Jim Frazier is hosting his second Annual Lobster & Pasta Dinner on Feb. 23 at the Antioch Community Center. Individual tickets are $75, with senior discount tickets for $50. Seating is limited, so no tickets can be sold after Feb. 19.

For additional information, or to RSVP, contact Martha at 925-890-2665.

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