PORT ANGELES — The weekend is all about grabbing a crab.
The eighth annual Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival will host a variety of activities centered around the resident crustacean.
The festival this year will expand into The Gateway, across Lincoln Street from the 7,000 square-foot tent in the parking lot of the Red Lion Hotel, 221 N. Lincoln St., Port Angeles.
After a “locals only” community crab feed sponsored by the Peninsula Daily News tonight (locals can get details and a discount coupon in the Friday/Saturday edition of the PDN, now on sale across the North Olympic Peninsula), events will kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday.
At the first-ever opening ceremonies, the Lower Elwha Klallam tribal drum group will play and Ben Charles Sr. will speak a blessing, said Scott Nagel, producing director of the festival.
“A new event we will have this year is that on both Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. the Coast Guard will be doing a rescue demonstration off of City Pier,” Nagel said.
“They will also have their 22-foot patrol boats on display.”
Featured during the weekend will be a crab feed, more than a dozen restaurants manning booths, a wine and beer garden, the “grab-a-crab” crab derby, more than 50 arts and crafts booths and exhibits, activities for children and environmental education programs.
Cooking demonstrations will be at The Gateway.
The Windermere Real Estate Crab Central tent will be open from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The Lower Elwha Klallam River Casino area will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday with cultural education programs and presentations.
The tribe will display its canoe, Beautiful Sister.
This year, tokens won’t be sold for the food in the tents. Cash will be accepted throughout the festival, Nagel said.
“Also this year, we will have more events than ever for kids and families,” Nagel said.
“The weather looks like it will cooperate, too.”
The “Grab-a-Crab” Derby will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
About 8,000 pounds of crab is being gathered for the festival, Nagel said, predicting about 15,000 people would attend the festival through the course of the weekend.
“We have had amazing national coverage,” he said.
“Coastal Living magazine featured us as one of the top 10 coastal festivals and USA Today recently had an article about us, so we couldn’t ask for more as far as national exposure.”
Even locals often haven’t tasted fresh crab, Nagel said.
“Crab is not the type of meat that saves well,” Nagel said.
“So having fresh crab is essential, and we’ll have some really amazing food here along with all the activities.”
__________Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at [email protected]