This article was written by BenitoLink intern Eden De Alba
The Hollister Exchange club is cracking down in preparation for the 32nd annual Crab Crack and Dance on Feb. 11.
With an average attendance of 400 people, the event serves as a fundraiser for youth activities such as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), YMCA and Emmaus House. The dance includes freshly cracked Dungeness crab, a bar, a raffle, a silent auction, and live music by Johnny Sanchez and the Sake Bombs.
The Hollister Exchange club is one of 650 exchange clubs throughout the U.S., with Hollister being the first one established west of the Mississippi River. It was founded in 1926.
Composed of 12 members, the Hollister Exchange Club is known for helping youth programs through scholarships, fundraising, grants and events. The Crab Crack and Dance is their largest event of the year.
This year’s gathering is the group’s first in four years due to COVID.
“It’s about time we brought this back,” club Secretary Dave Ortiz said. “The community has been asking when this would be returning and we’re happy to have it back.”
In preparing for the dance, the club has put out flyers and advertising on social media, billboards and television. The club has also increased meetings from one every two weeks to one a week to prepare for the festivities.
“We try to find organizations in Hollister that we find would give us the most bang for our buck,” Treasurer Brent Redmond said.
Brent Redmond had been in the Exchange Club for 15 years.
“We always ask ourselves, ‘Where would our money do the most good?’” he said.
President Lindsay Swanton joined the club after seeing how it supported his son in Troop 436 of Boy Scouts, which the exchange club is partnered with.
“I thought it turned out to be a fantastic organization,” Swanton said.
“We raise money throughout the year and give it all away at the end in order to support the youth of San Benito County,” Swanton added.
The club also plans on accepting volunteers from Hollister High School and Boy Scout Troop 436 to help with the event and gain community service hours.
“We hope the community comes out and has an excellent time, said club member Josh Redmond. “We missed the event, we know the community has missed it too and we just hope we can exceed everyone’s expectations.”
This Hollister Exchange Club Crab Crack and Dance will be held Feb. 11 at Bolado Park at the San Benito County Fairgrounds, 9000 Airline Hwy in Tres Pinos. Festivities start at 5 p.m. and end at 11 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at the club’s website.
The BenitoLink Internship Program is a paid, skill-building program that prepares local youth for a professional career. This program is supported by Monterey Peninsula Foundation AT&T Golf Tour, United Way, Taylor Farms and the Emma Bowen Foundation.