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Long Beach Peninsula
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Community Shares Bi-Valve Enthusiasm During Razor Clam Festival, April 9 and 10, 2016, In Long Beach
Digging lessons, competitions, tastings, cook-offs, singing mermaids and more all come together for an entertaining weekend on Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula
LONG BEACH, Wash. – February 23, 2016 – From competing for the best limit of clams to selfies with Clam Beauties, the Razor Clam Festival means a weekend worth of food traditions, cheerful entertainment and happy digging for anyone interested in the highly prized, sand dwelling mollusks. Activities will take place in downtown Long Beach, Washington, on Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10 with digging likely along the entire 28-mile span of wide, sandy beach pending state approval.
“The Razor Clam Festival is a great time to gather with other diggers in a relaxed, fun and friendly way,” says Randy Dennis, festival organizer. “Long Beach ranks among the best places to dig due to the vast digging area, easy beach access, the slope of the beach and other favorable conditions, and mostly because longtime residents really enjoy sharing our beach traditions, especially with those new to clam digging.”
Local professions will share the how-to of successful and sustainable digging with free Clam Digging Lessons at 7AM on April 9 and 7:45AM on April 10. Check in is 15 minutes prior both days at the Bolstad beach approach pavilion. Registration is at www.longbeachrazorclamfestival.com/free-razor-clam-digging-lessons/. Please note, clamming license, clam shovel or gun, a bucket or net are required for each person digging, and dressing for conditions is strongly encouraged.
Afterward, free Clam Cleaning Lessons will be offered at the Bolstad pavilion from 9 to 10AM on Saturday and 9:30 to 10:30AM on Sunday.
“Nothing beats joining with friends or family to brave the elements, returning home with a bounty of fresh razor clams and then enjoying a tasty meal – straight from the ocean!” added Dan Ayres, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Razor Clam Fishery Manager.
Other festival events include the following:
- Simple to enter Clam Contests take place on April 9 from 8AM until noon at the Dennis Company, 201 N. Pacific Hwy. For $100 prizes will be awarded for Biggest Clam Dug, Smallest Clam Dug, Best Looking Limit and Best Clam Tank Guess as judged by WDFW field reps.
- At the same place and time, those new to clamming and those looking for the latest and greatest can chat with manufacturers of clam-digging tools, buy clamming licenses and get outfitted for digs. Manufacturers will be available and offering free samples and prize drawings.
- Saturday Market at the Port of Ilwaco will open for a season preview of its fresh, local offerings on April 9 from 10AM to 4PM. While there enjoy great marina views while visiting The Port’s galleries and seafood shops.
- An Amateur Chowder Competition with cash prizes of $250, $150 and $75 awarded to the top three homemade clam chowders as voted on by a panel of chefs from the Tom Douglas restaurants. The competition takes place at the Long Beach Elks on Saturday from 11AM to noon. A $10 entry fee applies; entry forms are downloadable from the festival website.
- New this year, the Oregon Mermaids will share interactive stories, lessons and songs at The Long Beach Train Depot (next to The Dennis Company store) from 11AM to 2PM on April 9. Free to the public, photos with the mermaids, mermaid dress up and face painting will also be offered. Street entertainment including Dennis Duck, the Beard’s Hollow Pirates and Clam Bathing Beauties will add to the fun.
- Long Beach Peninsula restaurants will compete for the coveted Best Chowder trophy and people’s choice honors during the Clam Chowder Taste-Off on Saturday from 1 to 3PM at the Long Beach Elks (101 N Pacific Hwy). Tickets are $10 each and include one tasting of each chowder, beverage, 2016 tide booklet, collectible vintage postcards, Clam Festival coupon book, and musical entertainment by the North Coast Blues band. Admission is limited to the first 300 people, each receiving a ballot to vote for their favorite chowder. The trophy went to Chef Michael Lalewicz, The Depot Restaurant, Seaview in 2015.
- A carryover of the Clam Fritter that fed the crowd in 1940, the Clam Fritter Cook-Off will pit local celebrities against one another to see who makes the best fritter in a replica of the “World’s Largest Clam Pan.” Judging will be by chefs from the Tom Douglas restaurants. The Cook-Off takes place on April 9 from 3 to 5PM at Veterans Memorial Park, with live music by the Castletown Band. Savory bites of fritters will be offered to the crowd (while supplies last).
- Seaview craft-ale house, North Jetty Brewing will host a Beer Garden at Veterans Memorial Park from 3 to 6PM on Saturday. Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs will be available for purchase.
While at the festival, follow in the footsteps of Conan O’Brien and take a photo in front of “The World’s Largest Clam Pan.” In the same downtown park, deposit 25 cents to see the “World’s Largest Spitting Clam” perform.
“This year’s festival is dedicated to the late Jim Neva, who generously shared his digging expertise with novices both during the festival and at anytime he could assist,” said Dennis.
Created and popular in Long Beach in the 1940s, the Razor Clam Festival was reestablished in 2013. The original event successfully promoted tourism to the beach by touring a giant cast-iron frying pan throughout the Northwest and now on display in downtown Long Beach. Local lore has it that clam beauties greased the pan by “skating on large slabs of butter.” The “World’s Largest Clam Fritter” fed the crowd. For more, please explore the festival history at http://longbeachrazorclamfestival.com/long-beach-razor-clam-festival-history/
For additional clamming information, please contact the Dennis Company at 360.642. 3166 or visit WDFW at www.wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.
For lodging (early reservations suggested), dining and other destination information, visit www.funbeach.com or call the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau at 360.642.2400.
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