Spring means it's on, y'all—and by that, we mean shellfish and shrimp season. Get coastal with these three upcoming seafood celebrations (two this very weekend) of the all-too-fleeting, heights-of-season catches for which we Cascadians are so righteously known. Mark your calendars—and whet your appetites.
AHH SHUCKS! OYSTER FEED
Ever wanted to chow down on some grand oysters in the dining hall of the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Charleston, Oregon? Now's your chance. The 11th Annual Ahh Shucks! Oyster Feed—this year timed with the first-ever official Oregon Oyster Week—offers community members and visitors alike a kingly feast. Choose a three-, six-, or nine-oyster meal, prepared fried, sautéed in wine, butter, and garlic, or steamed right in the shell. (Ahh Shucks! doesn't serve raw oysters—which is okay, but only because oysters are so delicious.) The town of Charleston itself is a sight for sore eyes with gorgeous botanical gardens, an estuary reserve, and plenty of pre-game options like fishing, crabbing, and surfing.
The Ahh Shucks! Oyster Feed take place on Saturday, April 23. Oyster meals vary in price ($11–$15). 63466 Boat Basin, Charleston, OR 97420.
Just an hour and a half west by car, coastal gem Astoria is much more than its scenic bridges—it’s also a hub for fresh Pacific Northwest crab. The Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival sees coastal communities Astoria and Warrenton team up with 175 vendors dishing a staggering array of Cascadian wine and seafood. Attend blind tasting wine competitions, munch on fresh Dungeness crab and Willapa Bay oysters, and tap your foot to such live bands as Northwest country darling Carrie Cunningham and Portland's own Mbrascatu and the Junebugs.
The Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival takes place the weekend of April 22-24. On the first two days, the adult price is $10; on Sunday it’s $5. 92937 Walluski Loop in Astoria.
Brinnon, Washington, tucked high up on the Olympic Peninsula facing Puget Sound, is one of the rare places in the world where you can feast on spot shrimp—a delicacy harvested within a mere four-day commercial shrimping season. The Brinnon Shrimpfest offers visitors a chance to test the remarkably sweet little crustaceans at a number of vendors, while the tempting opportunity to catch your own spot shrimp looms in nearby Hood Canal. “The Shrimpfest usually lands the weekend after the shrimp season ends,” says event coordinator Phil Thenstedt. “But this year, the first day of the festival is the last day of shrimping.” Key vendors will offer smoked and deep-fried spot shrimp, along with more tropical options, like Yakisoba noodles with spot shrimp, and fresh papaya.
Brinnon ShrimpFest takes place Memorial Day Weekend, May 28-29. Gate fee: $5/day. 303375 U.S. 101, Brinnon, WA 98320