Whether it was by design or by accident, the perfect storm of drawing out the masses convened in Ocean Shores over the weekend as the 15th annual Razor Clam and Seafood Festival took center stage in the popular north shore beach town.
Compacted with good calm tides and St. Patrick’s Day, good weather helped play a major factor in getting people outdoors and spending money. Mother Nature gave an early glimpse of what’s to come as the last official weekend of winter saw temperatures as high as 64 degrees in Ocean Shores, the first time since October.
The conglomeration of events didn’t go unnoticed inside the Ocean Shores Convention Center as the three-day festival saw high turnouts of people looking to buy craft goods or eat delicate seafood dishes.
“We’ve had a lot better turnout this year compared to last. We got a lot going for us right now with the good weather, the clam digs this weekend, and not to mention it’s Saint Patrick’s weekend,” said George Lee, the main event organizer. “All of that really had us planning for a high volume of people throughout this event.”
From handmade chocolates, pottery, and jewelry, to clothes, cutlery, and organic spices, more than 25 vendors attracted the attention of hundreds of people walking through the convention center. However, no vendor got as much attraction by the masses then the seven chowder vendors looking to compete for the grand prize of first place ($1,000) or the People’s Choice Award ($500).
“It was really busy for the first couple of hours today. We’re getting really great feedback and it’s just good to get out to enjoy a nice sunny day,” said Rhonda Wirkman, the co-owner of La Spiaggia Ristorante which competed in the chowder competition. “We’ve never done one of these events before, so it’s been a learning curve for sure. When we got the offer to come and be a part of this event, it was a complete no-brainer for us.”
Competing alongside La Spiaggia in the competition were other prominent eating establishments in the North Shore community such as Ocean Crest Restaurant, Porthole Pub, Emily’s Oceanfront Restaurant, Frontager’s Pizza Co., Bennett’s Fish Shack and Oyhut Bay Grill. People who had purchased a chowder passport were able to get a free sample from each of the seven booths as well as purchase takeout cups for the road. When finished sampling, participants were advised to vote for their favorite chowder as the booth with the most votes would win the People’s Choice Award.
“Honestly, I’m not a food savant by any means. I thought they all tasted delicious. However, I’m a sucker for the taste of bacon and the one I tried from Frontager’s had that going for me so I voted for them,” said Martin Ross, a Moclips resident.
The clam chowder wasn’t the only seafood available for people to fill their faces with either, as a crab feed sponsored and provided by Quinault Pride Seafood took place in the parking lot of the convention center. The crab feed, which helped promote the Port Angeles Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival this October, allowed people to crack into and eat a full-size Dungeness crab with some potatoes, coleslaw, drinks and heaps of butter.
Other aspects of the festival included live music during all three days of the event from local bands such as Deerswerver, SR109, and Raucous, as well as outdoor music from KOSW 91.3FM. Food trucks and a large slide were also set up in the parking lot to give the event a family-friendly vibe while a beer and wine garden was set up for people who wanted more adult-themed entertainment.
“Throughout my three years of being a part of this event, we’ve wanted to add stuff that we thought would give the experience a better feel for anyone who comes, and the activities provided seem to have paid off with the feedback we got,” said Lee.
Contact Reporter Allen Leister at 360-463-3572 or firstname.lastname@example.org