Friends of Brinnon build a bigger, better ShrimpFest

BRINNON — For eight years, a small group of volunteers has thrown a festival on Memorial Day weekend that attracts thousands of seafood lovers to their waterfront town.

The draw — a delicious pink crustacean, unique to the area, known as the Hood Canal Spotted Shrimp.

“Their delicate flavor and quality is unsurpassed,” said Karen Sickel.

“They are much larger and tastier than a cocktail shrimp and they have a very delicate sweet taste, unlike their cousin, the prawn.”

Sickel is one of the Friends of Brinnon who organize the festival to raise money for community projects.

This year, with fewer than a dozen members, they are throwing a bigger, better ShrimpFest with more food, more fun and most of all, more shrimp.

800 pounds of shrimp

“We processed 800 pounds of Hood Canal Spotted Shrimp,” she said.

“We know they’re fresh because when we picked them up from the boat, they were wiggling.”

They are also moving ShrimpFest to a bigger location — from the strip of waterfront across from the main Brinnon intersection to a large field at Dosewallips State Park.

The new site allows for more booths — Sickel has almost 90 vendors signed up — and easier parking for seafood fans, who come from around Puget Sound for spotted shrimp.

“We sell out as fast as you can blink,” Sickel said.

Popular demand

To meet the demand, the Friends of Brinnon doubled the amount of shrimp they bought off the boat compared to last year’s haul.

THE NINTH ANNUAL Hood Canal ShrimpFest will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Dosewallips State Park, just north of the Dosewallips bridge on the water side of U.S. Highway 101 in Brinnon.

Admission is free. Cooked shrimp, steamed clams and mussels will be for sale, plus packaged spotted shrimp to take home.

Proceeds go to the Brinnon and Quilcene community centers and other local projects.

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