Brinnon ShrimpFest conjures up tasty crustaceans; event wraps up today

BRINNON — Anything that could favor the Hood Canal ShrimpFest did so this weekend for its biggest-ever turnout, festival organizers say.

As far as turnout goes, you could say the event was anything but shrimpy.

“The weather, the low tide and the holiday weekend — all of those things came together for us at once,” said a happy Karen Sickel, one of the Friends of Brinnon organizers for the ninth annual event.

She estimated 6,000 to 7,000 had already mobbed Dosewallips State Park by Saturday afternoon.

She estimated upward of 9,000 as the event continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Dosewallips State Park, off U.S. Highway 101 in Brinnon.

Admission is free.

Temperatures in 80s

Temperatures hovered in the 80s Saturday near the mouth of the Dosewallips River, the new site of the now-expanded event.

“It’s the biggest fair with a bigger turnout than ever,” said Sickel.

Fifty volunteers mostly dealt with parking cars during the event.

Aside from stir-fried shrimp — some of it the Hood Canal Spotted variety, and steamed and barbecued clams and oysters, tasty seafood cioppino was also served.

The event showcased 89 vendors, belt-sander races, music, fun for kids and arts and crafts.

Sickel said recreational-vehicle parks and motels were well booked up for the weekend.

“So we’re lovin’ it,” Sickel almost sang, adding that visitors from as far away as Portland, Ore., and even North Carolina were in attendance.

Added publicity in Seattle and Portland helped boost the crowd, she said.

“This is truly the only event that Brinnon has to boost the local economy,” she said.

Besides the attractions, about 800 pounds of shrimp was shipped in to keep the festival true to its namesake.

Only a limited number of native Spotted Shrimp can be recreationally harvested from Hood Canal, so another source of shrimp had to be used as a backup.

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