Saturday, March 17 , 2018, 7:58 am | Fair 44º


Taste the Bounty of the Santa Barbara Channel

Saturday's flavorful Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival begins at 10 a.m.

When it comes to fresh seafood, you can’t get it any fresher than right off the boat.

The Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, lures seafood lovers of all ages to Santa Barbara’s harbor for one of the community’s most beloved and flavorful events. Timed to celebrate the opening of commercial lobster season (Oct. 1), the annual benefit for the Page Youth Center showcases a plethora of delectable regional seafood specialties, in addition to cooking demonstrations, interactive maritime education, children’s activities, boat rides, live music, a tall-ship visit and much more.

The Santa Barbara Channel is one of the nation’s richest sources of bountiful, sustainable and high-quality seafood — from lobster, ridgeback shrimp, rock crab, white sea bass, California halibut, yellowtail, salmon, swordfish, thresher shark and rockfish to such delicacies as Santa Barbara spot prawns, sea urchin, and sea cucumber. Santa Barbara Harbor’s 100-plus fishermen catch 6 million to 10 million pounds of seafood annually, which, considering its positive effect on related businesses, equates to a $35 million to $40 million industry.

Meet the fishermen at the special seafood orders booth, where festival-goers who have selected fresh-caught lobster, crab, prawns, sea bass and more right off the boat have it cooked to order on the spot.

Other specialty food booths include an albacore barbecue, a fresh crab boil (thousands of pounds are served during the one-day event), Brophy Brother’s legendary clam chowder, and the Endless Summer Bar-Café‘s refreshing shrimp cocktail. Seafood cooking demonstrations at Chuck’s Waterfront Grill will include seafood handling and preparation tips.

Expand your maritime education with docent-led Santa Barbara Maritime Museum tours, deep-sea diving demonstrations, Spirit of Dana Point tall-ship tours and self-guided fish-walk tours that feature interpretive plaques detailing the nature and history of the harbor’s commercial fishing industry. The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary & National Park will be on hand with informational booths and displays, and the sanctuary give guided tours of its working research vessel, Shearwater.

Children’s activities include a mobile reef touch tank, a remotely operated vehicle, children’s craft booths and assorted sing-along and story telling activities.

Festival-goers will also enjoy live music, 45-plus arts and crafts vendors — and all the seafood they can eat.

The Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival is presented by the Santa Barbara Waterfront Department, Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara Inc., Santa Barbara Harbor Merchants Association and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

Brian Slagle represents the Santa Barbara Waterfront Department.

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