The 21st Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival opens Friday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

The 21st Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival opens Friday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

CrabFest offers good eats beginning Friday

Tribes contribute to food at weekend festival

PORT ANGELES — The 21st Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival opens Friday with three days of vendors, entertainment, and, of course, plenty of crab to eat.

The festival takes place at the First Fed Pavilion, 122 N. Lincoln St., in the Red Lion Hotel parking lot and on City Pier in Port Angeles, and will run through Sunday.

Festival hours will be from noon to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission to the Big Tent is free. Full crab meals — which include corn on the cob and cole slaw — cost $40 while half-crab meals cost $21. A $5 discount is offered to active military personnel and their families.

Crab meals can be pre-ordered by midnight Thursday at https://crabfest.yapsody.com/event/book/706211/31274871.

Crab kits — which include bibs, napkins and crab crackers for take-home orders — are $5.

There should be plenty of crab this year, said Scott Nagel, executive director of the festival, on Tuesday.

“I really want to thank the tribes for their contribution this year,” he said.

“The hot weather this year really impacted the supply of commercial crab and the tribes came to the rescue and we were able to get really good crab from tribal fisheries,” he said.

“They all came out to help catch crab for us.”

It’s estimated the tribe caught close to 18,000 pounds of crab.

Seventeen regional food vendors will be available, along with beer, wine and cocktails provided by local bars.

“We have more food booths than ever, and that’s pretty amazing because there aren’t as many vendors out there since COVID-19 happened,” Nagel said.

“We also have three bars and beer gardens, so that has expanded quite a bit, and this is the first year we are offering cocktails.”

CrabFest organizers are still seeking volunteers for the festival.

“We have a lot fewer volunteers than in the past,” Nagel said.

Volunteers are set to meet in the big tent on the Red Lion Hotel parking lot at 6 p.m. Thursday for training, though Nagel says volunteers could show up any day of the festival to help out.

“We need them any time they can show up during the weekend,” he said.

“We mainly need help with our service line and managing our information booths.

“We are expecting a huge crowd this year with CrabFest being fully back for the first time since 2019, and people want to get out and we have beautiful weather in the forecast.”

A wide range of volunteer positions is available. They include crab feed assistants, information/merchandise booths, greeters, crab feed line control, Crab Derby attendants and crab sales.

Full job descriptions and registration for volunteers can be found at www.crabfestival.org/volunteers along with more information about the festival itself.

Volunteers also can reach the volunteer director, Kelly Jo Hill, by email at crabfestivalvolunteer@gmail.com or by calling 360-461-3950.

As a thank you for their services, volunteers will receive Crab Crew T-shirts, and anyone who works two or more shifts during the weekend will receive a certificate for a free half-pound crab dinner, a $15 value.

Each volunteer who works a four-hour shift will get a chance to participate in a drawing for prizes, which includes two walk-on passes on the Coho ferry.

Each October, people from across the United States, British Columbia and beyond descend upon downtown Port Angeles for the festival.

For entertainment, a U.S. Army Brass Band from Joint Base Lewis-McChord will provide live music along with kicking off the festivities following a welcome ceremony that includes the Lower Elwha Tribal Dancers.

U.S. Coast Guard will conduct air and sea demonstrations on Saturday afternoon, provided they are not called away for an emergency.

Fiero Marine Life Center on City Pier will be open with activities for children and families.

Peninsula College will host a 5K Fundraiser for the women’s basketball team.

Registration opens at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and costs $35 per entry. The race begins at 11 a.m. at City Pier. Strollers and pets are welcome.

Each participant will receive a Peninsula College pint glass.

“This is one of the primary fundraisers for coach Ali Crumb and her women’s basketball team,” said Rick Ross, associate dean for athletics and student life.

“This run/walk offers a great low-key way for area fans to support that program.”

The one thing missing this year will be the cooking demonstrations. Nagel cited short staffing in regional restaurants.

“We can’t do the cooking demonstrations because of all the staffing issues in the restaurants. The chefs can’t guarantee they’ll be able to be here,” Nagel said.

________

Reporter Ken Park can be reached at kpark@peninsuladailynews.com.

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