Held on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, the festival features fresh seafood, local craft beer and wine, cooking demonstrations, live music, arts and crafts vendors, competitions, maritime-related exhibits, child-friendly activities and fireworks.
About 20,000 people attend the late-summer event each year.
“During the festival, we focus on Maryland and the bay,” said Daryl Cooke, with ABC Events, Inc. “We have the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, the Annapolis Maritime Museum, and the Chesapeake Maritime Museum all involved in the festival. We also have paddling and fishing events incorporated into the festival, celebrating the bay.”
Cooke said a highlight of the festival is the “27th Annual Crab Soup Cook-Off” on Sept. 9. According to the Maryland Seafood Festival website, during the competition more than 20 local restaurants will vie for the right to call themselves the “Premier Creator of Crab Soup.” Visitors who purchase $10 tickets can sample from 10 vendors during the competition, and vote for their favorite soup.
Attendees can also participate in a variety of contests like crab cake eating, oyster shucking, crab picking, and, new this year, a paddle fishing challenge.
Another big draw is live entertainment. This year, visitors can tour a reptile zoo, and have the opportunity to hear from Jimmy Riffle of Animal Planet’s hit show “Gator Boys.” A returning favorite is the Xpogo Stunt Team, which will host “extreme pogo” demonstrations throughout the festival.
On Sept. 10, sports fans can enjoy sand soccer scrimmages, featuring the Baltimore Kings Pro Soccer Club.
The festival also hosts a full line-up of live music on the Main Stage. Acts include Chesapeake Steel Drum Band, rhythm and blues band Jr. Cline & the Recliners, and the Kelly Bell Band, a popular Baltimore-based blues group.
Cooke said children will especially enjoy inflatable slides, crab shell painting, live crab races, and a treasure hunt. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the festival, a fireworks display will be held by the beach Sept. 9, at 8:30 p.m.
About the Maryland Seafood Festival
The Maryland Seafood Festival will be held 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sept. 9 and Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for seniors ages 65 and older, military; children ages 12 and under are free. Parking at Sandy Point State Park requires a pre-purchased parking ticket, $10. There is also parking at Anne Arundel Community College for a suggested donation of $5 and free shuttle to the festival. For more information, including the schedule of events, visit www.abceventsinc.com/maryland-seafood-festival/.