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Deadliest Catch crew expected to reel in crowds this Saturday

Vinton Waldron, owner of Seabolt
Vinton Waldron, owner of Seabolt's Smokehouse in Oak Harbor lays out some of the main course for Saturday's shindig with crew from the 'Deadliest Catch' reality TV series.
— image credit: Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times

For the second year in a row, some of the Bering Sea's toughest and best known crabbers will be back in Oak Harbor.

Vinton and Charisse Waldron of Seabolt's Smokehouse are once again hosting a shindig with crew members from the wildly popular "Deadliest Catch" reality TV series. And considering the planned festivities, from barbecued salmon and live music by Woodrush to a question and answer period with crew from the Northwestern, this year's event promises to be a whole lot of fun.

"It's going to be pretty cool," Vinton Waldron said.

Due to the huge success of the party in 2009, the Waldrons decided to shoot big this year and host the party at the Best Western Harbor Plaza and Conference Center. According to Event Coordinator Abbey Campbell, about 400 tickets had been sold as of Wednesday morning. She said tickets would likely continue to be available the rest of the week.

"Tickets will be sold at the door," Campbell said.

The party will be held Saturday, Sept. 4, and will run from 1 to 6 p.m.

In attendance will be crew members from the crabbing boat Northwestern, including deck-boss Edgar Hansen, and deckhands Nick Mavar, Matt Bradley, and Jake Anderson. Capt. Sig Hansen will not be there due to another commitment. Mike Fourtner, a deckhand from the Time Bandit, is expected to come and there is a possibility that other crew on the show could make an appearance as well.

Over 400 people crammed into Seabolt's Smokehouse in 2009 for a chance to meet and get autographs from the famous Bering Sea anglers. This year, people will be coming from as far away as New York, Vinton Waldron said.

As a fisherman himself who trolls the dangerous waters of Bristol Bay two months out of every year, Vinton Waldron, who is also and a longtime friend of Mavar, said the fame the show has brought his sea-going brethren is nothing short of astonishing.

"I don't get it, they're basically movie stars," he laughed.

But that's just fine with him. The reality series has helped educate the public about the industry, that commercial fisherman are not the environment-raping boogymen they are sometimes made out to be. In fact, fishing is heavily regulated by the government and the men that risk their lives for the salmon steak and crab legs in your local grocery store are just a bunch of regular Joes, he said.

Fishing in Alaska remains one of the deadliest jobs in the U.S., and after years at sea Vinton Waldron knows that all too well.

"I've lost a couple of friends doing this," he said.

So, the notoriety gained by the show will pay off in another way as well. A portion of the proceeds from this year's event will go towards the Seattle Fishermen's Memorial, a nonprofit group that works to assist families of fishermen lost at sea.

The group will have a booth at the event and donations can be made there or through the organization's website.

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