CrabFest to mark end of era

This weekend to be last near City Pier

PORT ANGELES — This will be last year that the annual Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival, which begins Friday, will be based in the Red Lion Hotel parking lot.

In 2024, it will move down the street to the area of the Waterfront Center, with events at Pebble Beach Park and in and around Field Hall. The move is prompted by renovations now in progress at Red Lion.

“Red Lion is renovating their parking lot,” said Scott Nagel, festival director, “so there is no space for us any more.

“I want to thank them for 22 years of supporting the festival.”

In celebration of the 22nd year this weekend, the three-day festival will offer a new Kids Fun Zone as well as collaborate with the Port of Port Angeles on tours of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alert and with Field Arts and Events Hall on special CrabFest concerts.

The festival this year will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, with the First Fed Crab Central Tent in the Red Lion Hotel parking lot at 221 N. Lincoln St., vendors on City Pier, The Claw Bistro in The Gateway at Lincoln and Front streets and tours of the Active on Marine Drive.

A full crab dinner is $40 and a half-crab $25 with a discount for active military. Tickets can be purchased online at https://crabfest.yapsody.com/event/index/752529/2023-crabfest-meal-port-angeles.

Or through Thursday, tickets can be purchased for $30 for a full crab dinner at Port Book and News, 104 E. First St., or the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce, 121 A E. Railroad Ave., a special flash sale for locals, Nagel said.

The new Kids Zone will be offered from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on City Pier, replacing the Crab Derby provided in years past. It offers a foam party, face painting, balloon animals, a fishing game, temporary tattoos and giant bubbles.

The Alert, a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Astoria, Ore., will be housed at the Port of Port Angeles marine terminal for tours on Saturday and Sunday. The tours are free, but space is limited and participants must register online in advance at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSewMBRIK8OWaDUvTSIw1LezsP_wzA4CMdIVsZ5FFb8kjjSfHQ/viewform.

The terminal is a Coast Guard-regulated secure facility and visitors must take a free shuttle bus to it, according to the port. To board the shuttle, go to 501 Marine Drive, enter the gate behind PetroCard CFN gas station behind port property, park and await the shuttle.

Tours will be once each hour. On Saturday, tours begin at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. On Sunday, they will be at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Nine restaurants not seen before at the CrabFest are coming from Sequim and Kitsap County, Nagel said, so that a cull group of 17 restaurants will be represented.

CrabFest also will offer top tunes at a new venue. CrabFest dinner ticket holders will be given an exclusive $5 discount on each ticket purchased for Crab Festival Concerts at the Field Hall at 201 W. Front St.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Ruth Moody Band will perform folk, bluegrass and gospel originals. On Saturday, Field Hall will offer two opportunities — at 5:30 p.m. in the Donna Morris Theater and at 8:30 p.m. in the Sunset Bar & Lounge — to see Sammy Miller & The Congregation, which will provide different shows.

The 8:30 p.m. show will be the inaugural Field Hall Dance Party, where Sammy Miller & The Congregation will perform for a CrabFest after party. It will cost $10 for general admission.

Tickets for the 5:30 p.m. show, a tribute to the top hits of 1973, include admission for the later dance party. To buy tickets, see www.fieldhallevents.org/crabfest.

Donya Alward, Red Lion general manager, said Tuesday that renovation of the main living areas of the guest rooms has been completed and work on the bathrooms will start this winter. The first step in the three-phase exterior renovation will include upgrades of the decks and railing, as well as painting.

“You’ll start to see exterior work in early 2024,” Alward said.

She said exterior work was anticipated to take 24-36 months; the project is still in the process of being permitted by the city.

And in October 2024, the CrabFest, popular with locals and visitors alike, will move down Railroad Avenue to the area near the Field Hall and the Pebble Beach Park. The big tent will be at the corner of Oak and Front streets and attractions, including vendors, will be closer together, Nagel said.

“Next year, you’ll just be able to just walk into the doors for a concert,” Nagel said.

“We had 22 great years with Red Lion, but now we have a new stage,” he said.

“It is pretty exciting we sort of filled up the old space.”

For a full schedule of events at CrabFest, see https://www.crabfestival.org.

________

Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or lleach@peninsuladailynews.com.

Reporter Paula Hunt contributed to this story.

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