Labor Day marked the closing of swimming pools and the end of summer in may respects, but the fun is not quite over yet.
One of the area’s most anticipated end-of-summer events is scheduled to take place Sept. 10-11 when more than 20,000 people are expected to head to Sandy Point State Park Beach, just outside of the nation’s capital in Annapolis, for the 44th annual Maryland Seafood Festival.
This annual festival features great Maryland seafood, live entertainment, arts and crafts, contests and numerous other activities for those who come to the popular beach event.
“We are thrilled to be offering attendees even more activities, food and entertainment options,” said Stephanie Duncan Troxell, festival spokesperson. “From foodies to families and everyone in between, festival-goers are sure to find something that excites them.”
The array of seafood indicative of the Chesapeake region served by vendors at the festival will include spiced Maryland crabs, succulent crab cakes, 75 types of shrimp kabobs and stuffed crab ball cupcakes. And there will also be crab-eating and crab-picking contests and new this year, a create-your-own mallet contest.
Aspiring chefs may want to bring a pad and pencil to take notes from acclaimed chefs, who will offer advice and reveal the ingredients to some of their secret recipes during the festival. Chef, author, speaker and National Geographic Fellow, Barton Seaver, will join other local chefs in culinary demonstrations in the Chef Demo Tent. Stick around for tastings of creations that will include blackened snakehead with pina colada salsa, oyster trio and other seafood creations.
For land lovers, not to be left out, there will also be pulled pork sandwiches, burgers and wings served by vendors as well. And for children, there’s a kid’s zone with lots of fun activities and a sports bar for game watching or a cold microbrew beer.
To work off the calories served up by the various food vendors, the festival will feature lots of opportunities for dancing to groups such as the Miles Roots Reggae Band, Chesapeake Steel Drum Band, New Orleans-based and recording group Cowboy Mouth and Country Music Award-nominee Steel Magnolia.
According to Troxell, this year’s festival will have numerous new events for festival participants to go along with annual activities. In addition to the competitive crab soup cook off (Saturday at 11:30) and fishing challenge, various Maryland agencies will conduct fire and water safety demonstration as part of the event’s new partnership with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation in memory of those who lost their lives on 9/11.
“We are pleased to offer to festival attendees the opportunity to learn about fire safety for home or on the water”, said Victor Stagnaro, director of the group’s fire service programs. “Local personnel will be on hand to demonstrate their equipment and highlight these educational exhibits.”
In addition, the United States Navy Hockey Team will participate in the festival by conducting teambuilding exercises on the beach and interacting with aspiring hockey athletes.
In the spirit of being an environmentally-friendly festival, recycling containers will be placed throughout the park.
Sandy Point, which opened in 1952, is a 786-acre park, located along the Northwestern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The park’s beaches and picnic areas offer scenic views of the Chesapeake Bay and is a place where people of all ages come to swim, fish, boat, crab, hike or just relax while watching the water or reading a good book.
The Maryland Seafood Festival costs $12 for advance tickets or $14 on site. There is parking at Sandy Point for a fee of $5 per person. When that lot fills up, festival-goers will be directed to the Anne Arundel Community College campus, where shuttle service will be available for a $5 donation to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.
For directions and more information on the festival, go to http://www.mdseafoodfestival.com/entertainment/event-schedule