The second annual Bellingham SeaFeast will be held Sept. 22-23, 2017 in downtown Bellingham and at Squalicum Harbor. The inaugural SeaFeast in 2016, themed “Eat, Play, Explore…and Eat Some More,” attracted more than 6,000, and the organizers say they anticipate topping that with possible expansion of sites and attractions in 2017.
Following last year’s blueprint, Bellingham SeaFeast 2017 will jump-start on Friday, Sept. 22, with FisherPoets on Bellingham Bay performing downtown. Saturday, Sept. 23, the festival will unfold all day on sites donated by the Port of Bellingham – in Zuanich Point Park and on specified docks.
Highlights include “Meet Your Fisher” activities and competitions, dock tours, fishers’ skill-set demonstrations, live entertainment, and the centerpiece of the entire event: Seafood, including a grand finale feast-ival.
If the grand opening of the renovated Granary Building on the Downtown Waterfront takes place by summer 2017, the Port of Bellingham has indicated the possibility of staging some Bellingham SeaFeast 2017 action there.
“The Port looks forward to supporting this signature event again in and around Port property,” says Tiffany DeSimone, the Meeting & Event Supervisor for Port of Bellingham. “Bellingham’s working waterfront is an integral part of this community, and Bellingham SeaFeast provides a great opportunity to showcase this important local resource.”
The 2nd annual “Skill of the Grill” competition will again feature divisions for amateur and professional entrants. Drew Sampson (Team Hammerham) in the amateur division won the championship title Grand Grillmaster 2016, adjudged by chefs and tasters specializing within the fishing industry. Other popular events included men and women in a Survival Suit Swim & Rescue Race (won by Nathan Thomas), and local pros and politicians in the Oyster Shuck ‘n’ Slurp contest (in which Mark Seymour from Drayton Harbor Oyster Co. shucked and City Councilman Michael Lilliquist slurped 22 oysters in just 2 minutes!).
The U.S. Coast Guard provided high-attendance action with an enactment of a helicopter rescue in the bay, and attendees visited a docked USCG cutter. Working commercial fishing boats will once again welcome visitors on dock tours, plus Bellingham Cold Storage has committed to hosting the same tour that booked 200 participants in 2016.
“We have a boatload of ideas for new activities for the second time around,” said Deb Granger, Co-Chair and Director of Sponsorships and Commercial Activities for Bellingham SeaFeast 2017. “And, we have identified many ways to refine the activities from this year and build upon their successes.”
The City of Bellingham, through a grant from its annual state tourism tax funds, provides the seed funding for the nonprofit Bellingham SeaFeast.