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Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival, Port Angeles, WA

Oysters BakingEach October foodies and fun-seekers from across the United States, British Columbia and beyond descend upon the scenic Olympic Peninsula to partake in a grand celebration of the coveted crustacean that derives its name from the town where it was first commercially harvested back in 1848 — Dungeness.

The 14th annual Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 9 – 11, at the Port Angeles City Pier. Hours are Friday,  12 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is free.

“CrabFest” as the festival has come to be known, has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association, and as one of the Top 10 Coastal Events by Coastal Living Magazine. It was also featured in national food magazine Saveur, and has come in second place at the KING 5 Evening Magazine poll for Best Food Festival (Bite of Seattle was first).

The Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival has become one of the premiere festivals in the Northwest.

The Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival has become one of the premiere festivals in the Northwest.

The Food!
It’s all about great food and fresh crab! Thousands of pounds of Dungeness crab are pulled from local waters each year, enabling festival-goers to savor the freshest crab available while also enjoying a wide variety of locally grown and produced foods. The 9,000 square-foot Kitsap Bank Crab Central Tent will house an old-fashioned crab-feed complete with large whole crabs, fresh corn and cole slaw. At Crab Central and throughout the grounds, 15 local and regional restaurants will serve-up everything from crab cakes to gumbo and much more! The Taylor Shellfish Farms Raw Oyster Bar is not to be missed! Non-seafood and vegetarian dishes will be available, as well.

Active members of the military and their spouses can enjoy a full, fresh crab dinner at the discounted price of $25.00 throughout the weekend. The community is invited to enjoy this special discount during the Festival’s Community Crab Feed on Friday from Noon to 10p.m. For the remainder of the 2015 festival, the charge for the Crab dinner is $29.00.

The Fun!

Anyone who loves crab will love this festival.

Anyone who loves crab will love this festival.

Held annually on the second weekend in October, Crabfest is a signature culinary event around which to plan a fall getaway weekend – or longer. In addition to great food, there’s live music throughout the event; a Chef Demonstration Stage featuring ongoing cooking demonstrations by a line-up of outstanding local and regional chefs; a Sunday morning non-denominational “Crab Revival” with gospel music performed by local artists; a Sunday Chowder Cook-Off sponsored by the Captain Joseph House Foundation; the Grab-A-Crab Tank Derby; and more than 70 vendor booths with juried crafts and information provided by environmental organizations.

Executive Chef Garret Schack Expert Judge

Cheff Garrett in YUM The Festival is pleased to announce that Executive Chef Garret Schack of Vista 18 in Victoria, B.C., will be the expert/celebrity judge for Sunday’s Chowder Cook-Off Benefit and he’ll bestow honors upon the winning chowder-makers at 2 p.m. Chef Schack joined Vista 18 in 2007, designing a menu that focuses on free range, organic and local products. He strives to allow the food speak for itself with clean, natural flavors. Schack is also the host of CHEK TV’s “Cookin’ on the Coast,” a half-hour series featuring delectable West Coast dishes with preparation tips, which airs on Monday nights at 10:30pm. Schack’s full bio can be found at www.vista18.com/accolades/executive-chef-garrett-schac.  (Former “Galloping Gourmet” Chef Graham Kerr was to have participated, but a death in the family forced him to cancel his appearance. Our condolences to Mr. Kerr.)

 

Crab feed

Crab dinners are only $29 ($25 for active military).

A Seasonal Highlight Along the Olympic Culinary Loop
The Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival is a seasonal highlight for Port Angeles, a city located 15 miles west of Dungeness, in a region long known as an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Nestled between the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains, PA has enjoyed its share of the limelight this year. Designated one of the 2015 Top 100 Best Small Towns by Livability.com, and one of the 20 Coolest Towns in the U.S. by the Matador Network, Port Angeles went head-to-head with Chatanooga, Tenn. in Outside Magazine’s 2015 “Best Town Ever” contest, coming in a close second by a slim margin of public votes.

Grab a crab derby

Kids enjoy the grab-a-crab derby.

The Olympic Peninsula has a growing a reputation for culinary adventure. Winding through four Olympic Peninsula counties encompassing diverse microclimates, the Olympic Culinary Loop is alive with farms, produce stands, fisheries, creameries, bakeries, wineries, cideries, farm-to-table experiences and authentic culinary events, all within reach of Hwy. 101, the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway. The byway showcases the region’s diverse geography, from glacially sculpted peaks and towering old growth forest in Olympic National Park, to sea stacks along the wild ocean beaches and lush estuaries. The scenic natural beauty is enhanced by living tribal cultures, historic seaport towns, and rolling agricultural land.

During the fall, culinary travelers can visit artisan wineries, take a county farm tour, pick wild mushrooms, savor a farm dinner at a local waterfront resort, and of course, enjoy all the fresh crab they can eat at Crabfest! The Culinary Loop route is designed to put visitors in touch with the people who grow, harvest, catch and serve fresh Olympic Coast Cuisine, offering up a true sense of place.

Seafood plate Dungeness CrabFest

There’s plenty of seafood as well as crab at the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival.

Set against a backdrop of vibrant fall foliage, the snowcapped Olympic Mountains and coastal waters, the Olympic Peninsula is the perfect place to savor the season! Bring your hiking boots, kayak, mountain or road bike and get out there – you’ll want to work up an appetite!

More About Crabfest

Getting There
To get to Crabfest, visitors can drive Route 101 to Port Angeles, with options for multiple ferry connections. Those from Canada will find special packages on the Coho Ferry from Victoria, which docks right next to the festival!

Olympic Peninsula Beach, Washington

Make a weekend of it on the beautiful Oly Peninsula

For more information, including transportation, accommodations, directions and the full program, please visit www.crabfestival.org, e-mail info@crabfestival.org, or phone 360-452-6300.
The Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival is produced by Olympic Peninsula Celebrations, a Washington State non-profit corporation, and the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce.

 

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Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

RFT co-founder Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook, Bobbie is editor-in-chief at realfoodtraveler.com.