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Astoria-Warrenton Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival
Astoria - Warrenton

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ASTORIA-WARRENTON -- There’s nothing like seafood, wine and sunshine to bring out a crowd.

 

Thousands yesterday came to the Oregon Coast for the 2013 annual Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival, sponsored by the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce.

 

On the second day of the three-day fest, the parking lot at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds was full within hours.

 

A quick survey of licence plates showed an almost even split between Washington and Oregon state.  Others came from Missouri, Nevada, Idaho, and California.

 

Crowds gathered at area hotels for big, yellow buses to shuttle them to the fairgrounds. Six shuttles, with names like “the tuna bus” and “sturgeon bus” were busy all day ferrying festival-goers from hotels, motels, KOA and other campgrounds, and the Lewis & Clark RV Park.

 

With 200 booths -- about one-quarter Oregon wineries -- a beer tent, food tent, and crab dinner hall, the festival is truly a moving feast.

 

It continues today (May 1) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Sit for a full crab dinner, freshly prepared by the Astoria Rotary, and listen to bands like Los Gallos Rumba and Rhythm Culture; sample smoked salmon and Oregon wines while walking through the main hall; or nosh on everything

 

from corn dogs to fish tacos at the food tent, while listening to “NW Pan Man” Terry Baber play island tunes on his steel pan.

 

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Terry Baber ("NW Pan Man") brings a touch of the islands to the Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival. Baber is an accomplished conch shell player and steel pan drummer, after 30 years as a professional musician.  He's a trombonist and composer/arranger for brass groups worldwide, who relocated to Astoria-Warrenton after 16 years in Orlando, Fla.

 

Fifty Oregon wineries sell wines from $1 for a taste (about an ounce) to hundreds of dollars, for shoppers buying cases.  Several festival-goers were spotted with armloads of wine in wooden crates and cardboard boxes yesterday.

 

“The 2006 syrah from Zerba Cellars is best,” said Spokane fireman Jake Andrews, 47, visiting the festival for the third year with his mother, Joyce Field, of Astoria.

 

“The funnest winery is Naked!” insisted his brother Bob Andrews, 53, a general contractor from Portland.

 

The brothers and their mom were all wearing sparkly red crab necklaces for beer tent admission.

 

“I’ve been coming to the festival for 21 years and it gets better every year,” said Joyce Field. “It brings in lots of trade, from the hotels and motels, to the waterfront.”

 

Astoria, oldest community on the Oregon Coast, celebrates its 200th anniversary this year.

 

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This is one of the top events of the bicentennial.

 

On stage today:  Ra Chi Chi, a Portland jazz quartet; and the Astoria High School Jazz Band.

 

Shuttles continue all day.  Shuttle service is available from Seaside too, by calling (503) 738-9898.

 

Photo credit: Hadi Dadashian

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