Festival puts mollusks in the spotlight

They’re briny, blue and they’ve been brewing under the Penn Cove waters and now is the time they rise to be reveled. It’s time for the 21st annual Penn Cove Mussel Fest, to be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Feb. 29 through March 2, in and around downtown Coupeville.

New this year, the festival adds a third day and opens with a Mussel Mingle from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday in the mussel and beer tent across from the Coupeville Recreation Hall. The evening will give people a taste of mussels, beer, brats, wine and the delicious music of Funk Mason.

“It’ll be a great way to open Mussel Fest and give people a taste of the great weekend to come,” said Cindy Olson of Aqua Events, contracted by the event sponsors the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association.

Mussel Fest headquarters is once again the Coupeville Recreation Hall, located near the corner of Alexander and Coveland. That’s where people can purchase tickets for the mussel chowder tasting, sign up for the mussel eating contest, watch mussel cooking demonstrations 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, get tickets for a boat tour and find the details on anything and everything Mussel Fest.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a soccer mom or burley man, everyone’s encouraged to embrace the mussel enthusiasm and enter the mussel eating contest to see how fast you can slurp them down.

Penn Cove Shellfish Company supplies thousands of pounds of mussels to the festival for the chowder contest, mussel eating contests, cooking demonstrations and also by the bag for people to take home, fresh from the waters of Penn Cove.

The shellfish company remains the mainstay sponsor of the Mussel Fest. Could be because the company, run by Rawle and Ian Jefferds, has been supplying the world with its famous Penn Cove Mussels since their father, Peter Jefferds, founded the company in 1975. The shellfish company continues to host the mussel, beer and wine garden that will open Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

Capt. John Stone will welcome people aboard the Cutty Sark for two-hour sailings for $30 per person. First sailing departs the wharf at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are available at Mussel Fest headquartersl.

The Mystic Sea Charters will once again offer tours of the Penn Cove Shellfish mussel farm via its vessel, at $10 for the 40-minute tour.

Be there Saturday if you want the children’s activities and crafts, and keep a watch for The Shifty Sailors singing their salty tunes and bringing a smile to young and old. Dillinger’s Clambake will bring a swinging sound when they play 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

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