Eighth crab festival appears to claw its way to top

PORT ANGELES — The eighth annual Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival was such a hit, organizers ordered an extra 500 pounds of crab to serve up Sunday.

Russ Veenema, executive director of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the Crab Feed had served 7,300 pounds of crab

At about 1 æ pounds each, that makes for about 4,170 whole crabs.

“That doesn’t include all of the crab that was used to make crab enchiladas or crab danish — if you added all that, in who knows how much we would have served?” Veenema said.

Veenema predicted about a 10 percent increase in visitors over last year’s numbers, which were approximated at 15,000 people.

“What was really interesting to me was sitting down at different tables and exploring how different people heard about it and where they came from,” Veenema said.

“This is definitely a record year, but it is hard to measure how many people are here exactly because we don’t require tickets and we don’t check people in.

“The only way for us to measure how we did was by how much crab we ordered — and we used more than 7,000 pounds.”

He said that the majority of people appeared to be from the Western United States, but that people attended from all over the world.

“I also found interesting that people tend to pair it with something else that they want to do,” he said.

“Many people are planning vacations around this festival.”

A new portion of this year’s festival was a rescue demonstration on Saturday and Sunday afternoons by the Coast Guard.

“It worked out so well,” Veenema said.

“We had about 2,000 people out there at 2 p.m. each day watching.

“Then after the demonstration was over, they could turn around and there were all the vendors and great food cooking.

“The Coast Guard was terrific — it was really good.”

On Friday the Peninsula Daily News Community Crab Feed was also a record breaker.

It drew more than 600 people — which bolstered attendance by about 10 percent over last year’s record attendance, said Brigid Woodland, administrative director of the festival.

The Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce collaborated with the Scott Nagel, who is the event director, to put on the festival.

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Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at [email protected]

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