Beel den Stormer Presents the Only Fishery Blog You Need

Fish, Fisheries and Queryomics

Fish Festival of the Week: Apollo Bay Seafood Festival Australia & Smelt Derby USA

Apollo Bay Seafood Festival Fish Festival Victoria, Australia

The seafood festival of the week is two festivals.  Both are one day events, held this Saturday (23 February).  For adults, Beel recommends the Apollo Seafood Festival, especially if you’re in Australia.  If you’re looking for a kid-centric event, its definitely the Smelt Derby.  Woo hoo, says Beel.

The Apollo Bay Seafood Festival is in its second year and will be held Saturday 23 February 2013, from 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM on the Apollo Bay Foreskin Foreshore.

The festival was founded “to grow tourism yield and to facilitate the diversification and development of the regional economy.”  Growing tourism yield?  Do Australians really talk like this, mate?  Although the founding purpose is not so noble, says Beel, increasingly this is what fish festivals are about, tourism and $$, but still it gets people out eating and celebrating fish, and drinking beer and wine.  So, good enough.

Anyway, the festival focuses on seafood- and other foods, it will have cooking demonstrations, live music from artists featured at the Apollo Bay Music Festival, roving performers, and a farmer’s market featuring local produce, wine, beer, and seafood. 

This is mostly standard fare for a fish festival. But the venue? Ah, says Beel!  Beel has been to Apollo Bay.  It is very nice.  And the drive there, along the Great Ocean Road, is one of the most scenic in the world.

If you can’t make the festival, you can at least pretend to participate in the official coloring contest (details here).

Apollo Bay Seafood Festival  Victoria, Australia coloring contest

Beel reminds you to stay inside the lines.  Now, onto the second First-place fish festival.

Poster for La Connor Washington Smelt Derby

The Smelt Derby is one of the longest-running events in Washington!  In days gone by, tons of smelt were dipped and caught from local waters.  These days, smelt numbers are much smaller, but still provide some catch.

The 48th annual Smelt Derby takes place in La Connor, Washington, Saturday 23 February 2013 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  Technically, Beel guesses, the festivities begin with a Pancake Breakfast held from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM.

Smelts caught at Smelt Derby La Conner, Washington

Smelt caught at 2012 Smelt Derby.  Photo by Linda Ry. (photo source)

Festival activities include things for kids, like face painting, smelt fishing, and fish painting.  Fish painting?  Beel, you ask, won’t the paint come off when the fish go back in the water?  Well, they don’t exactly paint the fish themselves.  Actually, they make “fish prints” creating fine art from paint and a dead fish. 

The Smelt Derby fishing contest is on the town docks from 8:00 AM  to 2:00 PM.  Kids can win cash prizes of $100 for bringing in the largest smelt. Beel likes this, train them young to understand that fishing is all about competition and making money.  We need that next generation of tournament anglers.

Of course, there also is the Smelt Queen.

Smelt Queen at Smelt Derby La Conner, Washington

Smelt Queen 2012 (photo source)

The Queen is crowned during the Smelt Queen Pageant held, appropriately, at a local pub.  Festival participants are invited to meet the queen and hear what smelt has meant to her.  Beel is prone to hyperbole, but ain’t making this up.

Beel has seen a Queen before, but has never smelt one.  Sorry about that!

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This entry was posted on February 18, 2013 by in Fish Festivals and tagged , , .

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