Seafood, arts, crafts, games, exhibits and music on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay will all add up to an end-of-summertime day of fun in the sun at this year’s Maryland Seafood Festival, which will be held from 10:00am to 9:00pm on Saturday, September 12, and 10:00am to 7:00pm on Sunday, September 13, at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis.
The spectacle will feature something for the whole family, including a new zip line ride, cooking classes and a paddleboat competition. Organizers are especially excited about the competition. The event will start at 9:30am on Sunday, allowing participants to get a jump-start on their entrance into the park.
Paddle for Betterment is a family-friendly water game that allows competitors to paddle to checkpoints, collect playing cards and show their cards at the end for prizes based on the best poker hands.
For the price of competition registration ($60 for adults and $40 for children), participants receive admission to the festival, parking onsite, an event T-shirt and lunch. Paddleboards will be available, but participants are welcome to bring their own boards, kayaks or canoes. There will be paddleboard demonstrations and instructions prior to the event.
“It’s going to be fun,” said Stephanie Duncan Troxell, festival spokesperson. “We are anticipating great success.” More than 60 people registered by early August, supporting a great cause in the process. Proceeds benefit Community Betterment, a nonprofit that enhances communities and promotes philanthropy with the help of individuals and other organizations.
On land, adults and youth can have a blast with the new zip line. The 200-foot line will be on the beach, and folks can pay $10 for a chance to take a ride on the glide.
Also new this year is the opportunity to sign up for cooking classes sponsored by Williams-Sonoma. The $60 ticket cost includes early admission, parking at Sandy Point, a cooking class and samples.
For just $10, guests can enjoy one of the festival’s favorites — the Crab Soup Cook-off, now in its 25th year. Tasters can sample some well-known restaurant offerings such as Maryland crab soup, cream of crab and an alternative version of crab soup. Attendees will vote on their favorite offering.
Of course, seafood is the main attraction. Troxell said crab cakes are always the favorite culinary item. Folks also enjoy lobster rolls and hard-shell crabs. The beer and oyster tent is also popular.
When their seafood cravings are satiated, families can enjoy the large arts and crafts exhibits featuring more than 50 vendors offering specialty items such as marine-themed jewelry, specialty herbs, candles, clothing, bags, and even crab mallets with beer openers on one end.
Music aficionados can hear the nine bands that are scheduled to play throughout the two days, offering a variety of music including steel drum, rock, folk, Irish and more. The Blatant Eighties, a Baltimore-based band, joins the lineup this year, and Troxell said she expects the group’s music to be well received.
“[The ‘80s] is a decade to remember with music you can’t forget,” she said with a laugh, adding that the Blatant Eighties will follow Dublin 5, a high-energy rock band that festival regulars know and love.
While adults have lots of entertainment choices, kids can have a good time, too. The festival offers crab races, crab shell painting, live sea-life exhibits, games, inflatable moon bounces and obstacle courses. There’s also a giant aquarium display offered by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Troxell said the festival brings the whole community together; churches, community groups, scouts and many other organizations participate. It’s also a green event. Visitors will see trash and recycling receptacles throughout the park. Also, Boy Scouts will camp in the woods behind the craft area, and in the evenings, they will clean up.
Visitors are encouraged to check out the website to see the various entertainment options and buy tickets. Admission tickets may be purchased online or at the gate. Parking tickets at Sandy Point must be prepurchased online. Parking will also be available at Anne Arundel Community College. For more information, visit www.mdseafoodfestival.com.