A briny blowout


What: Bellingham SeaFeast

Where: Squalicum Harbor and beyond


WHEN: 10am-8pm Sat., Sept. 21 and 10am-4pm Sun., Sept. 22

Cost: Entry is free; some events require tickets


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

An event that promotes itself by sending a human-sized crustacean named Crabby around town to shake its claws and multiple legs at people in order to draw their attention is something I can get behind.

Getting the chance to spot Crabby at Zuanich Point Park and around Squalicum Harbor Sept. 21-22 is of the many reasons I’m excited for the fourth annual Bellingham SeaFeast, but it’s far from the only enticement. The briny blowout that will once again welcome fall and bid farewell to summer seems to be custom-made for people like me—those who not only love the taste of seafood, but are also interested in meeting the people procuring the culinary bounty to be found in local and regional waters.

Ways to celebrate Bellingham’s longtime maritime culture and heritage are many. Through the weekend, attendees can meet local fishermen on the Sawtooth Dock, and tour the Whatcom County Firefighters Association’s fire boat, All American Marine Industry, and Bornstein Seafoods.

On Saturday, Bornstein will also be hosting a Seafood Freezer Sale.  Even those who don’t secure tickets to the tours can stock up on deals on wild seafood that has been sustainably caught and processed right here in the Pacific Northwest. As well as sourcing Dungeness crab, Oregon pink shrimp, albacore tuna, salmon, rockfish and sole, they’ll also be selling bait by the pound for sport crab and prawn fishermen. They’ll provide boxes for patrons to load up their edible wares, but bringing your own coolers is advised.

If you prefer to have other people do the cooking for you, that’s fine too. The SeaFeed at the Harbor food court will provide plenty of appetizing options, and Haggen Northwest Fresh will once again be offering “Taste the Sea: A Sustainable Seafood Experience” at hourlong sessions at the Squalicum Boathouse throughout the weekend (tickets are required, and are going fast).

I’m also excited about the return of “Skill of the Grill,” a salmon-grilling competition beginning at noon on Sunday on the Go Fish stage (near the commercial working area along SeaFeast Wharf).

Led by a Bristol Bay fisher-emcee, watch—and get hungry—as celebrated and experienced chefs do their level best to grill Bristol Bay sockeye fillets to perfection. Chefs will explain their processes and tips as they cook, and Bellebrity judges such as Mayor Kelli Linville will get the first taste, marking a score for each chef.

Following the judging, members of the public will get their turn. Bring $2 for each sample you’d like to taste, and see where the flavors take you.

Art vendors, live music, FisherPoets events at additional downtown Bellingham locales, survival suit races, a beer garden, education and outreach booths, an introduction to paddle water sports with Dragonfly Kayak Tours and Zephyr Guiding, and more will take place throughout the weekend.

While you’re out there, don’t forget to keep an eye out for Crabby. Rumor has it numerous volunteers will be taking on the persona of the amiable sea creature during the course of the weekend, and they deserve a high-five—or at least a high-claw.

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