High wind blows havoc through Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival

PORT ANGELES — Wind gusts blew down all but 12 of the 70 vendor tents at the Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival early Sunday morning, the executive director reported.

“There was a huge blow,” said Scott Nagel on Sunday afternoon. “We’ve been cleaning it up all day.

“Most canopies were blown away.”

A wind gust of 39 mph was recorded at the Fairchild International Airport early Sunday morning, said meteorologist Samantha Borth with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

A 45-mph gust was recorded at the New Dungeness Lighthouse. The wind reached 51 mph at Marrowstone Point, she said.

The West End wasn’t affected as much as were central and eastern points on the North Olympic Peninsula, Borth said.

The wind was due to a cold front that was causing thunderstorms in Seattle on Sunday afternoon.

Despite the mess, the CrabFest at the north end of Lincoln Street opened at its scheduled time of 10 a.m. Sunday for its last day of a three-day run. Some vendors purchased new canopies so they could reopen, Nagel said.

All the food had been in trailers and was OK, Nagel said. In fact, the festival had sold out of crab by about 3 p.m. Sunday, two hours before closure.

The festival had expected to sell 5,000 crab dinners. A popular feature during the COVID-19 pandemic were advance orders to curbside pickup of crab dinners — some 2,500 were sold, Nagel said.

Attendance was down from other years because of the closure of the U.S. border to Canadians and the COVID-19 health measures, but it was far larger than Nagel had expected, he said.

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