After enduring months of cold, dreary and sometimes snowy weather, the first major festival of the year is sure to warm people’s spirits.
The Penn Cove Mussel Fest, sponsored by the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association, takes place this weekend, Friday through Sunday. The festival features live music, tours of the mussel rafts in Penn Cove and tasty recipes to prepare the flavorful mollusk.
Friday night, March 2, marks the start of the three-day event, with the annual Mussel Mingle, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Coupeville Recreation Hall. The evening social is geared to local residents and offers food and music.
The festival gets into full swing Saturday, March 3, with several events honoring the Penn Cove mussel. Fourteen restaurants in and around Coupeville are vying to see which one creates the best chowder. Ebey’s Bowl located near Coupeville High School and Middle School captured the 2011 award and its owners are competing to retain their title.
Guest chefs from Whidbey Island and Seattle will demonstrate new mussel recipes at the Coupeville Recreation Hall. Chefs tapped to show their skills include Rawle Jefferds and Steve Clarke from Penn Cove Shellfish, Brenda Rodriguez from Seattle, Jo Leblatt, chef of Etta’s Restaurant in Seattle and Tara Cagle, executive chef of The Pink Door in Seattle. Cooking demonstrations go from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
The weekend also includes the Penn Cove Shellfish Mussel and Beer Garden from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday across the street from the Coupeville Recreation Hall.
Visitors to Coupeville will have a chance to ride a boat from the Coupeville Wharf to tour the shellfish beds located west of Coupeville. Other activities over the weekend include a mussel eating competition and children’s activities.
The Central Whidbey Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the Mussel Hustle, which is basically a scavenger hunt where participants are given a map and a list of questions they have to answer within 90 minutes. A hunt takes place both Saturday and Sunday.
The Coupeville Recreation Hall serves as the Mussel Festival headquarters and tickets for the various events.
For more information visit www.thepenncovemusselfestival.com.