LONG BEACH — The annual Razor Clam Festival has something for locals and visitors alike, and this year record numbers attended the two-day event.
“We could not have done it without all the volunteers, the contestants, and the restaurants that participated,” said Randy Dennis, co-chair of the Razor Clam Festival and co-owner of Dennis Company. “It was cool to see people get their first limit of clams and hopefully they will come back because the town and everyone involved showed them a terrific time.”
The event kicked off on Saturday morning with razor clam digging lessons at the Bolstad beach approach pavilion. Over 170 attendees showed up at 6:45 a.m. to get free lessons from one of the “local professionals” who were there to teach anyone anxious to learn. On Sunday, there were around 50 attendees for a dig that was a little later in the morning. According to Dennis, these numbers are more than twice what they were in 2015.
Following both digs were lessons on how to properly clean the clams but, presumably, no lessons were necessary on how to eat clam chowder or clam fritters that afternoon.
In the local restaurant people’s choice chowder contest, The Depot of Seaview took home the trophy for “best chowder” for the second year in a row. With around 300 voters participating in the judging, 10 local restaurants contributed in the competition. The Lost Roo took home second place, and Pickled Fish came in third.
Greg Shirley and Andrea Warren of Vancouver took home the trophy for the Amateur Chowder Competition. Coming in second and third place were Travis Wickham of Castle Rock and Daryl Shepard of Long Beach, respectively.
The Clam Fritter Cook-Off was held in the late afternoon with live music by the celtic-influenced Castletown Band. Vinessa Karnofski emerged victorious with her nontraditional fritter recipe, beating out all three 19th Legislative District legislators, among others.
Cooking in a newer replica of the “World’s Largest Frying Pan,” attendees devoured the clam fritter samples almost faster than they could be produced.
“I really enjoyed the harried intensity all the contestants had,” Karnofski noted. “Seemed like the bigger goal was feeding the growing crowd rather than winning over the judges!”
Karnofski took home a trophy for her win and donated the prize money to local nonprofit Wellspring Community Network. “This event was for charity and I work for a non-profit that could always use more funding!” she said. “The $250 winning prize going to WCN is the best part of the whole experience.”
Throughout Saturday afternoon, children danced in the park to the live music while enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers from the Boys & Girls Club of the Long Beach Peninsula or Ilwaco Music Boosters booths which were both set up next to the stage. North Jetty Brewing sponsored the beer garden, also in Veterans Park, which was consistently packed as attendees enjoyed the warm, windless day.
“It was a lot of fun and we couldn’t be happier with attendance,” said Razor Clam Festival co-chair Dianna Knight. “Thank you to all the attendees, participants, and volunteers who help us make this event happen every year.”
For more information about the Annual Razor Clam Festival, visit their website longbeachrazorclamfestival.com.