Shrimpfest to celebrate Hood Canal delicacy in Brinnon this weekend

BRINNON — It’s all about shrimp, but the festival that celebrates the funny-looking spotted sea creatures from the depths of Hood Canal is anything but shrimpy.

Last year’s Hood Canal Shrimpfest attracted more than 9,000 on a weekend blessed with picture-perfect weather.

“If we have half of the people we had last year, we’ll be happy,” said a cheerful Karen Sickel, a Friends of Brinnon organizer for the family event now in its 10th year.

If you are looking to score big on Hood Canal spot shrimp at the festival, better come early.

Sickel said 280 bags of 22 Hood Canal spot shrimp will be sold for $7 a bag.

What was 500 pounds of shrimp before they were cleaned are now frozen, said Sickel. They were harvested during the canal’s short May shrimp season 1½ weeks ago.

Once the local shrimp are gone, Honduran shrimp shipped in by a Seattle company will be served.

The Hondurans, which are prepared and frozen, are sold for $5 a pound or 5 pounds for $20.

“We encourage anyone traveling from Port Angeles or Sequim or Port Townsend to bring a cooler,” Sickel said.

Free samples will be available for tasting, said Sickel.

Stir-fried shrimp, steamed and barbecued clams and oysters, and seafood cioppino are expected to be served. Clams and oysters are also a Hood Canal seafood staple.

Nearby Dosewallips State Park beaches will be open to licensed clam diggers and oyster pickers.

About 90 vendors will sell their wares this year, offering handmade maple wooden baskets, jewelry, toddler cloths, personalized CDs, stained glass, iron-made items and other items.

A number of children’s games, such as rock climbing and pony rides, are on tap as well.

A major highlight of the fest — electric belt sander races — will start at 1 p.m. both days.

This year, 14 serious sander race contenders are ready to rev on the red line until the green light flashes.

Bosco, a local one-man band will perform in the morning, and all music stops at 1 p.m. for the sand racers.

The event not only supports the local economy, said Sickel, but profits go to the Brannon and Quilcene community centers for projects benefiting those in need.

Shrimpfest facts

— What: 10th annual Brinnon Shrimpfest

— When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

— Where: A grassy field on the north side of Dosewallips State Park in Brinnon, on the east side of U.S. Highway 101. Attendants will direct parking adjacent to the event site.

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