Razor Clam Festival celebrates coastal seafood traditions

  • Tue Mar 5th, 2019 10:15am
  • Life

By SCOTT D. JOHNSTON

The population of the North Coast will swell by thousands the weekend of March 16 and 17, all because of that beautiful bivalve, that most mouth-watering of meaty mollusks, Siliqua patula — what we know and love as the Pacific razor clam.

Two days of recreational clam digging on mid-afternoon low tides coincide with an expanded and free to the public Ocean Shores Razor Clam & Seafood Festival at the Ocean Shores Convention Center, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 16, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 17.

The clam digs will be on the Copalis beach, which includes Ocean Shores, prior to the 3:43 p.m. low tide Saturday and the Mocrocks beach, north of the Copalis River to Moclips, on the 4:43 p.m. low tide Sunday. The Twin Harbors beaches at Westport and south will also host digs both afternoons.

The festival celebrates Washington’s razor clam fishery, which generates $30-40 million in annual economic activity. Now in its 13th year, the event is being produced for the first time by Scott Nagel, executive director of CrabFest, a major annual event in Port Angeles that last year served 16,000 lbs. of local Dungeness crab.

Razor Clam Festival content this year has been expanded in several areas:

Food offerings feature Port Angeles’ Kokopelli Grill serving a varied seafood menu, plus pulled pork, burgers, brats and more from their sister restaurant, Coyote BBQ Pub. Local seafood includes razor clams from Quinault Pride Seafood, oysters from Lytle’s Seafood and Taylor Shellfish, and Bennett’s Seafood Shack crab cakes.

There will also be a Tasting Room offering tasting and purchase of five Olympic Peninsula wineries, two beers, and whiskey.

The festival features programs designed for beginning through experienced clam diggers, including instructions and demonstrations of everything you need to know about finding, cleaning and cooking clams. There will also be a clam cleaning station outside the Convention Center.

Also new this year is the “5K Run With The Clams” on Saturday morning.

Several popular and traditional aspects return this year, such as the clam chowder cooking contests with amateur and pro divisions and “Tasting Passports” for sale. Forty vendor booths will offer handmade crafts, fishing and outdoor gear and more. Fun for kids includes a giant outdoor slide, a mechanical shark, face painting, and hands-on activities.

With low tide a bit before 4 p.m. Saturday, festival organizers have planned a clam contest, followed by a party. The clam contest, with prizes and bragging rights for the largest and smallest clams, will take entries from 2:30-5 p.m. Saturday outside the main entrance to the Convention Center. Judging will be done by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and awards will be announced inside at 5:30. That will kick off the “Clamtastic Party,” from 6-8 p.m., with food and beverages available and live music from 80 Proof Ale, a popular country/rock cover band from Seattle.

The festival is presented by the Quinault Beach Resort & Casino and is an Ocean Shores North Beach Chamber of Commerce Event. Co-sponsors are Bennett’s Seafood Shack, Oyhut Bay, The Daily World, The Weed Shack, the Grey Gull, Have a Heart, Digital Synergy Technologies, and Starfish Cottage. More information can be found online at www.osrazorclamfestival.org.

Razor Clam & Seafood Festival

March 16-17: Open from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Saturday, and from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Sunday. Entry is free. There will be clam digs in the afternoon on both days (check tide tables for details. The festival is presented by the Quinault Beach Resort & Casino among other sponsors this year.

Features of this year’s festival include:

• Grays Harbor County Chowder Contest —Vote for your favorite chowder with a “Tasting Passport” to sample all the chowders.

• Food vendors. More than just chowder — razor clam steaks, clam fritters, clam chowder, fish and chips with razor clams, halibut, cod, and shrimp, Bennett’s 100% Dungeness Crab Cakes, a raw and barbecued oyster bar featuring Taylor Shellfish, pulled pork, brats, desserts, kettle corn and more. Razor clams will be coming fresh from the Quinault Nation.

• Beverages — Sample regional beer and wine, plus spirits and other and beverages.

• Clamtastic Party — Saturday evening from 6-8 with live music, food, and bar, then ride the free shuttle to the Quinault Beach Resort Casino.

• For “Clammers” — Programs designed for beginning through experienced clam diggers. If you have never gone clam digging before, head to the festival to learn everything you need to know about finding, cleaning and cooking clams. Get your license across the street and head two blocks to the beach. With low tides around 4 p.m. daily, spend the day at the festival, get your clams, come back and enter the contest for the largest and smallest clams.

• Clam Contest — Enter to win bragging rights and some great prizes for the largest and smallest clam, carefully measured by the State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

• Clam Cleaning Station — Learn how to clean freshly caught clams, and do it yourself right in the parking lot.

• Workshops – Learn everything you need to know about razor clams and outdoor life at the beach. Representatives of the State Depart of Fish and Wildlife will be there to explain it all.

• Shopping — 40 booths with handmade crafts, fishing and outdoor gear, and more.

• For the Kids — Giant outdoors slide, a mechanical shark, face painting, and hands-on activities.

• Running With The Clams 5K — Saturday morning, take a run and come back for lunch.

For more information visit www.osrazorclamfestival.org. Questions? E-mail info@osrazorclamfestival.org, or call 360.289.24

Fat Tire bike race

Seabrook, in conjunction with Buck’s Bikes, will host the inaugural St. Fatty’s Day Fat Tire Bike Race on Saturday, March 16, open to riders of all ages, skill levels, and abilities.

“St. Fatty’s Day will be a great opportunity to race fat bikes on sandy shores of the Washington coast,” said Buck Giles, owner of Buck’s Bikes. “Along dunes and out on the coastlines, the unique terrain will be ridden in the style of cross country mountain bike races. This is a race and event that you will be excited to have discovered.”

The St. Fatty’s Day event has five different races to choose from. Scheduled into five categories, the goal is to ride as many loops as possible in the time allotted. Category One (expert) riders will have 60 minutes; Category Two (intermediate) will have 45; Category Three (U13 and beginners) will have 30; and the E-Fat Category (pedal assist fat bikes, no throttle) will have 35.

The course starts up in Seabrook and darts down to the coast, passing through the forest before emptying out onto the sand for loops, then heading back up to town for the finish. The winner is the one who completes the most laps in their time frame.

In town. Seabrook will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with live music, Irish food, dancing, and beer garden.

Entry is $40 for adults and $30 for racers 13 years old and younger. People can pre-register for the race online at bucksbicyclerepair.com, or register on-site day of the races from 9-9:30 a.m. at Buck’s Bikes.

Upcoming events

• March 23: Garden by the Sea — the community garden in Ocean Shores — celebrates its 11th growing season on Saturday, March 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The garden is located behind the Galilean Lutheran Church, 824 Ocean Shores Blvd. NW. Volunteers will be on hand to answer gardening questions and take reservations for a growing plot for 2019.

• March 24: Dugan’s Run, Sunday March 24 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Running races for all ages and abilities. For more than 30 years, Dugan’s Run has been held in Ocean Shores promoting youth sports, family participation and community involvement. With a 5K, 10K, and 1-mile run for those 12 and under, and a Kids Dash for even the smallest of participants. Headquarters at Dugan’s Pizza on Ocean Shores Boulevard, or register online at: https://www.webscorer.com/register?raceid=165739. Visit the race Facebook page: Facebook.com/DugansFunRun

• May 3-5: 24th annual Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival in Hoquiam, the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge, and with field trips to Ocean Shores and Huynisisoos on the Quinault Indian Nation among the events. Guided walks, shorebird lectures, presentations on bees and coastal raptors are scheduled. There also is a festival “Run for the Birds” Saturday at 9 a.m., starting at Hoquiam City Hall. For registration questions, call (360) 580-8162 or email jeandart303@gmail.com.

• May 11: Youth Fishing Derby, sponsored by Ocean Shores Elks Lodge, at North Bay Park.

• May 11-12: More Urban Unglued exotic gear vendor show at the Convention Center.

• June 1: Wearable Art Show at the Convention Center.

• June 8-9: Grays Harbor County Festival of Colors kite flying event on the beach at Damon Road.

• June 8: Flag Day Parade, sponsored by the Ocean Shores Elks, on Pt. Brown Ave. and Chance a la Mer St., ending at the Convention Center.

• June 28-30: Sand & Sawdust Festival, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, at the Convention Center.

• June 28-30: AAOS Juried Fine Art, Photo and 3D Show at the Convention Center.

• July 26-28: Bikers at the Beach at the Convention Center.

• Aug. 10: Ocean Shores Woof-a-Thon, North Beach High School.

• Aug. 24-25: Ocean Shores Body & Soul Festival at the Convention Center.

• Aug. 30-Sept. 1: AAOS Arts & Crafts Festival at the Convention Center.

• Aug. 31: Paddle the Shores, Oyhut Bay Seaside Village.

• Sept. 20-22: Whale of a Quilt Show, Convention Center.

• Oct. 16-20: Celtic Music Festival, Galway Bay and Convention Center.

• Nov. 29.-Dec. 1: Winter Fanta-Sea, Convention Center.