Here’s what you can expect to see, hear and taste at Bellingham Seafest 2017

Watch a mock sea rescue by the U.S. Coast Guard at Bellingham SeaFeast

The U.S. Coast Guard stages a mock sea rescue by helicopter at Bellingham SeaFeast on Saturday, Oct. 1, in Bellingham.
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The U.S. Coast Guard stages a mock sea rescue by helicopter at Bellingham SeaFeast on Saturday, Oct. 1, in Bellingham.

Thousands of Pacific Northwest seafood lovers will flock to Squalicum Harbor and Zuanich Point Park for the second annual Bellingham SeaFeast Friday and Saturday.

The inaugural event pulled in more than 6,000 people and showcased a family-friendly atmosphere rich with tastes of the sea, music, competitions and much more.

SeaFeast comes hot out of the gate Friday with FisherPoets-on-Bellingham Bay performing downtown. The highlight of Friday night is the SeaFeed at the Square at downtown’s Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave., featuring raw and grilled oysters, fresh grilled salmon and a Dungeness crab boil by Crave Catering. The seafood dinner starts at 5 p.m. Friday. A limited number of tickets for $50 apiece sell online at BellinghamSeaFeast.com until noon Friday. Any remaining tickets will sell at the door for $60 apiece.

Saturday the festival will unfold all day at 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.

The second 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 ($1,000 grand prize), judged by chefs and tasters specializing within the fishing industry. New to the competition is a People’s Choice Award, in which participants will purchase tickets ($1 each sample), judge the competitors’ salmon and vote on the top three.

Taste the Sea: A Sustainable Seafood Experience offers samplings of Pacific Northwest seafood that participants learn about in the Squalicum Boathouse. Taste the Sea takes place in one-hour shifts at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday. Capacity is 80 for each session. Tickets are $10 apiece ($5 ages 12 and older) by 11:30 p.m. Friday. Any remaining tickets will sell at the door.

It doesn’t stop there, according to Co-Chair and Director of Sponsorships and Commercial Activities for Bellingham SeaFeast 2017, ebbie Granger.

“We have a boatload of ideas for new activities for the second time around,” Granger said. “And, we have identified many ways to refine activities from this year and build upon their successes.”

A main draw is expected to be the new SeaFeast Wharf, which presents more than 100 artists and vendors, including a maritime-themed Art Walk. Artists in action, paintings and metal, glass and ceramic works will be on display.

The Herring Toss and the XTRATUF Stomp, in which four-person teams wear fishermen boots and trudge across a field on wooden slats in a relay race, also are new this year.

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