Julian McCabe helps pull cooked crab from a kettle on its way to the plate of a hungry festivalgoer in 2016. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Julian McCabe helps pull cooked crab from a kettle on its way to the plate of a hungry festivalgoer in 2016. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Crab cuisine: Festival celebrates succulent seafood

PORT ANGELES — From facing off in a chowder cook off to singing along in the Crab Revival, the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival will offer both savory and sweet moments this weekend.

The festival will have plenty of fresh Dungeness crab, according to Scott Nagel, executive director of the festival, which will offer vendors, food and activities on City Pier, in the Crab Central Tent in the Red Lion Hotel parking lot at Lincoln and Front streets and in The Gateway Pavilion at Lincoln Street and Railroad Avenue.

Admission to the festival is free.

Visitors can buy tickets for crab meals — with crab, fresh Sunny Farms corn and Nash’s organic coleslaw — at the Crab Central Tent walk-up counter in the Red Lion Hotel parking lot, order online at www.crabfestival.org or get crab to go at the festival.

Community Crab Dinner

Kicking off the weekend will be the Community Crab Dinner sponsored by the Peninsula Daily News. Members of the community can buy a crab dinner at a reduced cost of $25 in the Kitsap Bank Crab Central Tent from noon to 10 p.m. today.

Seniors can purchase discounted dinner tickets for $25 good for Saturday and Sunday.

Throughout the weekend, 18 food booths in Crab Central will offer delicacies including oysters from Jamestown Seafood, a collaboration between owner Kurt Grinnell and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe; and geoduck sashimi and ceviche.

More seafood spots are on the pier along with a wide range of goods sold by vendors.

CrabFest has been named one of the Top 100 Events by the American Bus Association and has been recognized by Coastal Living Magazine, GQ Magazine and Saveur as one of the top seafood festivals in North America.

The schedule for the 16th annual festival going on today through Sunday follows:

Grab-a-Crab Derby

The festival’s most popular event — the Grab-A-Crab Derby — will take place from noon to 5 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

For $5, attendees can use crab snares and baits to lure crabs from two large holding tanks for 10 minutes. No license or gear are required.

Of course, there’s always the child who outcrabs the father, Nagel said.

But where kids and crabs are concerned, one should be wary of the occasional hazard. “The crabs are excited and do like to bite,” Nagel said.

Once caught, crabs are cleaned, boiled and served on the spot.

CrabFest chefs

Along Gateway Pavilion, regional and celebrity chefs will take the stage from 10:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Sunday for cooking demonstrations. Book signings will be available after most presentations.

• 10:45 a.m. Saturday: Shawn Mitchell, chef and manager of the Hama Hama Oyster Saloon, will cook pan-fried Hama Hama oysters.

• 11:45 a.m. Saturday: “Master Chef” Season 7 grand champion Shaun O’Neale will cook hazelnut-crusted salmon with pea puree and fresh ricotta. O’Neale will sign copies of his new book, “My Modern American Table,” after his cooking stage demonstration.

• 1 p.m. Saturday: Kate McDermott, author of “Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings and Life,” will bake a homemade Olympic Peninsula blackberry pie.

• 2 p.m. Saturday: Gabriel Milne and Ian Morrow, chefs at the Blue Crab Seafood House, will prepare pan-seared halibut with a Dungeness crab vinaigrette, cauliflower, sultana and tomato ragout.

• 3 p.m. Saturday: Cynthia Nims, educational chef and author of “Northwest Homegrown Cookbook” series, will cook crab and soba noodle salad.

• 4 p.m. Saturday: Les Chan, a culinary artist, chef and author of “Don’t Stir Fry in the Nude,” will cook imperial hot and sour noodles with fresh crab.

• 5 p.m. Saturday: Joshua Diehl, executive chef at Lake Crescent Lodge, will cook a “sensational plate of inspired food.”

• 11:30 a.m. Sunday: Shaun O’Neale will return to the stage to cook Dungeness crab ravioli.

• 12:45 p.m. Sunday: Albert Chitwood, executive chef at Old Alcohol Plant in Port Hadlock, will prepare crab rangoons.

• 1:45 p.m. Sunday: Thomas Yesdresyski, chef at Sooke Harbour House in Sooke, British Columbia, will prepare Dungeness crab croquette with heirloom tomato and fresh herbs.

• 2:45 p.m. Sunday: Port Angeles pancake artist Nathan Shields will cook saipan crab pancakes.

• 3:45 p.m. Sunday: Jess Owen, chef at Ocean Crest Resort in Moclips, will cook a dish yet to be revealed.

CrabFest 5K Fun Run

Starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, the annual 5K run on Olympic Discovery Trail will fundraise for the Peninsula College women’s basketball team and the college’s athletic department as a whole.

Open registration starts at 9:30 a.m. and costs $35. Participants may also register online prior to the event by visiting www.crab festival.org.

The race starts from 112 N. Lincoln St.

Search and rescue demo

The United States Coast Guard will demonstrate a water search and rescue at Port Angeles Harbor at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Nagel said these demonstrations don’t come around every year, so the festival was fortunate.

“We’re pretty honored they chose our crab and seafood festival,” Nagel said. “It’s amazing to watch.”

Rowing demos

Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association will demonstrate their sport and offer “learn about rowing” sessions at Hollywood Beach from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Crab Revival

On Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., the Peninsula Men’s Gospel Singers and CrabFest Revival Choir will serve gospel music, words of peace and breakfast at Gateway Pavilion.

Singalong songs, familiar hymns and a blessing for the day will comprise the morning non-denominational service.

Chowder cook-out

Contestants will face off Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the fifth annual benefit for Captain Joseph House, a nonprofit that will provide a place of respite for veteran families of fallen soldiers.

Shaun O’Neale will preside over and judge the cook-out contestants.

Visitors can observe the chefs in action, taste the various chowders and vote for the “People’s Choice.”

Live music

The schedule for live music throughout the weekend follows:


• Noon to 1 p.m. —Bread & Gravy.

• 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. — Lisa Ramsauer & The Oly Rain Project.

• 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. — Twisted Roots.

• 3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. — Bryson Foster Band.

• 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. — Hippy and The Squids.

• 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. — Black Door Alley.

• 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. — Joy in Mudville.


• 11 a.m. to noon — Wendy Bradbury Jazz Quintet.

• 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. — Abakis.

• 1:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. — Buck Ellard Band.

• 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. — The Crocs.

• 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m. — Hot Damn!

• 6:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. — Tanga.

• 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. — Fat Chance.


• 11 a.m. to noon — Black Rock.

• 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. — The Fabulous Murphtones.

• 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Locos Only.

• 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. — Black Diamond Junction.

• 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. — Caribe Steel Band.


Reporter Sarah Sharp can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at ssharp@peninsula dailynews.com.

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