Scott Rosenkranz holds up his design for the 2019 Musselfest poster. The festival will be held March 2-3 in Coupeville. (Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times)

Scott Rosenkranz holds up his design for the 2019 Musselfest poster. The festival will be held March 2-3 in Coupeville. (Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times)

Over the moon: Musselfest launches events season

This year, she’s over the moon.

The Penn Cove Musselfest mermaid, that is.

Each year, the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association features a new variation of a mermaid on its poster, T-shirts, brochures and coasters.

The poster this year is eye-catching — a deep violet background color that makes the yellow lettering stand out, as a lithe mermaid with flowing brown hair and a multi-colored tail holds a bowl of steaming mussels in one hand and the other grips a crescent moon on which she sits.

For the second year in a row, the association selected a local artist to create the poster, Scott Rosenkranz of Rosenkranz Productions.

“The unveiling of our yearly mermaid is highly anticipated to see what she will look like this year,” association Executive Director Vickie Chambers said. “I think there’s something about mermaids and the sea that just speaks to people.”

Chambers said Rosenkranz was great to work with, even after the association pushed him to stretch his boundaries. She was pleased with the results.

“This was not his normal kind of art, so it really pushed him to think out of his comfort zone,” she said. “…he just rose to the challenge.”

The art nouveau-style pieces the association provided him to use as inspiration for this year’s art may not have been his usual style, Rosenkranz said, but he had fun researching the masters.

He created the logo using watercolor and ink, and there’s a bit of a story behind the mermaid’s tail, he said.

“My daughter and I sat around on my birthday (watercolor painting),” he said, “and the tail is one she painted.”

Rosenkranz describes his mermaid as having jumped into the night sky to find a perch to lure someone with a tasty bowl of mussels.

And the mussels are tasty, as thousands of people turn out each year to get their fill of the Penn Cove Shellfish-provided sea critters.

“The preparation is going very well,” Chambers said. “We have a lot of key volunteers returning to ensure a smooth event.”

The event brings in a large amount of tourism and revenue for business owners, she said.

“I hear over and over how important it is this time of the year,” she said. “The benefits of this event are felt far and wide … on the whole island.”

After a snowy February, Chambers said she’s not worried at all about the weather for the March 2-3 event, which of course will go on rain or shine.

But, if the sun shines, she said, the event is more likely to make a profit, which will go back into producing next year’s festival.

“I think the weather is going to be just fine,” Chambers said.

“We find people enjoy Musselfest even when its not ideal weather.”

A popular Musselfest activity is the Penn Cove Shellfish boat tours.

It’s the only time each year the public has an opportunity to see up close the business’s mussel farms, with a tour guide who talks about the farm’s operations and uses an underwater camera to give a good look at the mussel lines.

Tim Jones, Penn Cove Shellfish’s operations manager for over 20 years, gives these boat tours, and he says he enjoys Musselfest, even though it’s a lot of work.

“They enjoy it,” he said of the tourgoers. “A lot of people don’t know what we do out here.”

Traditional farming is something people easily understand, he said. But mussel farming is a whole ‘nother boat.

The company produces about 4,500 pounds of mussels for the event, he said, and they start harvesting the mussels on Thursday, Feb. 28 and deliver them to the restaurants Friday morning to be cooked in chowders for the chowder-tasting contest.

What’s happening

• Musselfest weekend kicks off Friday with the Mussel Mingle. Live music, hot dogs, adult beverages and more are available for $30. Tickets may be purchased online at https://www. or in person at Aqua Gifts, the Crow’s Roost or the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce.

• Shuttle buses will follow a loop around Coupeville, and visitors are encouraged to park in the public school lots.

• Other events include cooking demonstrations at the Coupeville Rec Hall, and a new “Heart of Coupeville” tour of local shops.

Local artist Scott Rosenkranz created the poster art for this year’s Musselfest.

Local artist Scott Rosenkranz created the poster art for this year’s Musselfest.

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