Razor Clam Festival in Ocean Shores this weekend

Highlighting the event are the popular amateur and professional clam chowder competitions.

By Scott D. Johnston

Just about everything you can imagine about razor clam cuisine, culture and commerce is offered for enjoyment this weekend at the 11th Annual Razor Clam Festival &Seafood Extravaganza, March 17-19 at the Ocean Shores Convention Center.

Highlighting the family friendly event are the popular amateur and professional clam chowder competitions plus clam and seafood cuisine contests, and expanded offerings of various cooking, wine and food pairing demonstrations. New are a pair of ticketed meals, a “Food &Wine Pairing International Dinner” at 5:30 Saturday evening at $25 per person and at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, “Brunch with Bubbles” for $10.

Also on tap are three informational seminars. At 1 p.m. Saturday, Dan Ayers, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager, will lead a seminar titled “Clams and Crab are Key on the Coast.”

At 3 p.m. Saturday, Natalie Sahli, the Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellow with the Washington State Department of Health Shellfish Program, leads a walk through the interactive shellfish safety map. That seminar will be repeated at 2:30 p.m. Sunday by Audrey Coyne, marine biotoxin coordinator for the Washington State Department of Health.

The event also includes a clam art auction at 1 p.m. Sunday, a raffle, and live music sprinkled throughout each day. A “Kids Korner” includes mechanical shark rides, pirates, face painting and a coloring contest.

While the emphasis is on seafood, there will be plenty of other tasty temptations including hamburgers, pulled pork, corn dogs, deep fried vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, sweet corn, green beans, pickle slices, mushrooms and more), over 40 flavors of fudge, funnel cakes, fried Twinkies, kettle corn, caramel apples, jams, smoked cheeses, jerky and more.

Of course, clam chowder is the “soup du jour” for the event, as chefs from northwest restaurants compete to create the champion chowder and attendees have the opportunity to taste and vote for their favorite. The amateur clam chowder cook-off draws a large list of home chefs in competition for the title, and the previous year’s winner gets to join the professional judges to help select the best restaurant chowder.

The chowder competitions are all held on Saturday. Amateur chowder chefs must arrive by 10 a.m., and the judging is at 11:30. The professional clam chowder “cuisinartist” competition is at 4 p.m.

Hours for the event are noon to 6 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Adult admission is $3 per day or $5 for the weekend. Kids 12 and under are free. The event is sponsored by Quinault Beach Resort &Casino.

More information is available online at www.oceanshores.org/clams and on the Facebook page: “Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival.”

Razor Clam Festival in Ocean Shores this weekend