Autumn in Pacific County is marked by its harvests, many of which helped form the bedrock of Peninsula communities. Think “crab” in Ilwaco, “cranberries” in Long Beach and “oysters” on Willapa Bay. Thankfully, the bounties that built Pacific County over a century ago can still be harvested today.
The popularity of shows like “Deadliest Catch” have inspired a new generation commercial crabbers, but the annual autumn action isn’t limited to the pros. Local businesses Hi-Line Crab Charters at the Port of Chinook and CoHo Charters at the Port of Ilwaco can get you on a boat and hauling pots in no time. All you need is the proper shellfish license and the charters will help with the rest.
Washington’s recreational crab season is open and options include the Pacific Ocean, Columbia River and Willapa Bay. Get your catch cleaned at Sportsmen’s Cannery in Seaview. Check the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s “Fishing & Shellfishing” page for up-to-date information and requirements before you drop your crab pots.
Spring is the ideal season for oyster picking on Willapa Bay, but the tasty bivalves can be harvested year-round at low tide. Willapa Bay is a world-renowned oyster producer, and there’s almost no better way to enjoy the delicacy than pulling one from Willapa Bay, shucking it right there on the mudflats and enjoying it fresh.
The Cranberrian Fair on Oct. 8-9 at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco illuminate’s this bright berry’s impact on the Long Beach Peninsula. The fair coincides with the fall harvest, so expect to see cranberry dishes at local restaurants, cranberry treats at local markets and bags of fresh berries at roadside stands and markets like Sid’s in Seaview.
Kites, music and more
Kites return to the Long Beach Peninsula with the One Sky, One World Kite Celebration on Oct. 8-9 at the World Kite Museum in Long Beach. This global event promotes world peace and was founded in 1986 during the Cold War. It’s celebrated worldwide, and participants are encouraged to share their kite-flying photos on social media with other participants around the globe.
The Water Music Festival is a multi-venue, two-day musical palette. The Leadbetter Farms concert has already sold out, so score tickets to the Oct. 14 and Oct. 15 performances at the Inn at Harbor Village in Ilwaco and Oysterville Church ASAP.