Walrus and Carpenter Picnic
When the water’s at its most frigid and the tides are at their lowest, a busful of oyster lovers (and maybe a bottle or 10 of wine) heads for the Totten Inlet for a nocturnal oyster picnic where you can scoop shells up from off the beach to shuck and eat on the spot. This year Taylor Shellfish Farms joined up with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund to organize the nighttime outings, which sell out almost immediately. brownpapertickets.com
Copper River Salmon Season
It’s not spring in Seattle until a trio of chefs gathers on the tarmac at Sea-Tac for our sweetest, goofiest publicity ritual. Alaska Airlines ceremonially delivers the first king salmon from Cordova, Alaska, where the Copper River’s cold waters breed particularly oily, flavorful fish. The chefs stage a planeside cook-off, and spotting that first delivery on menus and in markets becomes a citywide sport. copperriversalmon.org
Tom Douglas’s salmon barbecues in Steinbrueck Park are part fundraiser for maintaining this packed piece of green space, part excuse to eat wild Alaskan salmon while taking in majestic Elliott Bay views. The entire $15 ticket price goes to Seattle Parks and Recreation, and T-Doug himself is usually manning the grill. tomdouglas.com
July 13 & 14
The neighborhood’s intertwined traditions of seafarers and Scandinavians make for one heck of a block party, filled with salmon barbecues, chowder, and a lutefisk speed-eating contest.
Allyn Geoduck Festival
Everyone’s favorite phallic surf clam is harvested in the deep waters of Case Inlet, and the small town of Allyn has been paying tribute with a waterfront festival since 2011. Local restaurants and a few visiting notables (Canlis came last year) serve chowder, sliders, fritters, and even geoduck ice cream. allynaca.com
Oyster New Year
Oyster farmers around Washington ring in prime shellfish season by gathering in a tent behind Elliott’s Oyster House and setting up a 90-foot oyster bar serving more than 30 varieties. It’s a rip--roaring party that also benefits the Puget Sound Restoration Fund. Tickets go on sale in September. elliottsoysterhouse.com
New Year’s Eve Razor Clamming
October typically marks the first sanctioned outing for razor clams—outgoing tides contain plankton that cause these hungry fellows to make their presence known with a telltale mark in the sand. But the optimal tidal schedule on the final evening of 2013 means an estimated 20,000 clam seekers will likely make a night of it with bonfires on the state’s five razor clam beaches.
Published: February 2013