The Long Beach Peninsula is getting ready to clam it up again for the annual Long Beach Peninsula Razor Clam Festival. In a county known for its celebrated seafood , this is festival is a returning regional treasure. The event started in 1940 and has been a beloved gathering when razor clam levels allow. With live music, chowder challenges, and tasty treats, this year’s Long Beach Peninsula Razor Clam Festival is eagerly anticipated. And an exciting line-up of programing awaits attendees for two full days of mollusk madness.
Here are just a few things to look forward to…
Clam Fritters That Started It All
Do you know that the Razor Clam Festival all started with a fritter? In 1940, the first of many clam festivals was organized by the people of Long Beach Peninsula. As thousands of visitors dug for razor clams, the locals made the “World’s Largest Clam Fritter”. The fritter was made with more than 200 pounds of razor clams and 20 pounds of eggs and flour. (Fittingly, it was made in the “World’s Largest Frying Pan”, which measured over 14 feet long. Folklore has the pan being greased by girls using slabs of butter as skates.) The result was the “World’s Largest” tasty clam fritter that was so popular, it became a festival cornerstone. Clam Fritter samples will be shared during this year’s festival, served out of a replica frying pan (hold the butter skates).
Razor Clam Festival Digging Lessons
Become a certified local when you learn how to dig razor clams with the best. Grab your shovel or clam gun, clamming license, and a bucket. Clambassadors will be waiting to greet you and show you how to coax the sea critters from the sand. They’ll teach you to spot the telltale signs of a clam hole. Spoiler alert: look for the dimple, the doughnut, or keyhole and plunge away!
The best digging conditions are usually an hour or two prior to low tide, so be sure to reference the tide timing. And dress for the activity. Rubber boots, hats, light layers and possible rain gear are recommended.
Once you’ve clammed, take your treasures to the judging table!
Annual Razor Clam Festival Clam Contests
Size matters for this part of the Razor Clam Festival. The good news is that the prizes work for both ends of the measuring stick! Clam diggers will enter their bucket of finds to the jurors to be measured. Past year clam sizes have ranged from 1.5” to almost 6”. The biggest and smallest clams entered will each win $100.00, respectively.
But it’s not just the clams themselves that take home the prizes…
The Long Beach Razor Clam Festival Clam Chowder Taste-Off
Get ready for a seafood showdown. The chowder game is heating up at the Long Beach Peninsula Razor Clam Festival. And the Clam Chowder Taste-Off seems like the perfect moment to take home the prized pearl. Twelve local restaurants will compete for top chowder bragging rights. The Cove Restaurant won last year’s number one prize and is looking for a return to championship. A multi-year winner, you’ll find their “award-winning clam chowder” proudly listed on their menu.
Competition this year is stiff, with the restaurants bringing their most delectable bowl of the briny bounty. Here are all the restaurants vying to take home the next Chowder Championship:
- Captain Bob’s Chowder
- The Depot
- Columbia River Roadhouse
- The Crab Pot Seafood Market and Restaurant
- Drop Anchor Seafood and Grill
- Shelburne Hotel Restaurant and Pub
- Long Beach Tavern
- Lost Roo Restaurant and Bar
- Loose Kaboose Diner
- The Cove
- Chowder Stop
- Castaways Seafood Grille
Amateur Chowder Competition
The big guns aren’t the only ones showing off their chowder chops at the annual Razor Clam Festival. An Amateur Chowder Competition will run during the event, where locals show off their homemade recipes. Winners will receive cash prizes and bragging rights but the real winners may be the taste testers.
North Jetty Brewing Beer Garden
After all that taste testing, you’ll need something to wash it down with. Another fan favorite, the North Jetty Brewing Beer Garden returns to the Long Beach Peninsula Razor Clam Festival. Guests can sip from midday into the evening at the dedicated beer garden. Expect to taste some of the best local, micro-brew beer that you can find in the region. After all, what goes better with seafood than a Leadbetter Red Scottish Style Ale?
Dungeness Crab Plate
Clams aren’t the only thing on the menu. The Port of Peninsula is providing their Dungeness Crab Plate experience again. Each ticket allows guests half of a fresh, cooked Dungeness crab, corn on the cob, and fresh roll. And don’t worry…there will be lots of clarified butter to dip the sweet crab meat into.
Vendors & Food Trucks
And if crabs or chowders aren’t your thing, saddle up to one of the many vendor and food trucks that will be on hand. Sweet treats, local non-seafood food options, and artisans will be selling their wares during the event.
Razor Clam Festival Live Music Line-Up
What festival is complete without live music? The Veterans Field Stage will once again come alive with the rocking line-up planned for the event. JT & the Long Beach Blues All-Stars, RockFish Blues Band, and Ben Rice & The Hustle will delight attendees with their performances.
Photo opportunities galore exist during the Razor Clam Festival. Unfettered stretches of pristine beaches and moody ocean serve as the perfect backdrop. Colorful displays and human clams will pepper the festival grounds.
Don’t forget to snap a selfie at the replica of the infamous fritter frying pan, which stands proudly on Pacific Hwy. Or take a shot with the World’s Largest Spitting Clam right beside it. In homage to the razor clam it is constructed after, it too has a workable spout. (That’s right…its spout spits.) With timed spurts on the hour, this sculpture-meets-fountain is the ideal photo backdrop for the Razor Clam Festival.
Come clam it up at the annual Long Beach Peninsula Razor Clam Festival! This year’s event promises to be ex-shell-ent!!
By: Danelle Dodds
Danelle is an international traveler, road tripper, writer, and artist. She firmly believes in testing the limits of word count, mileage, and AYCE sushi.