Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kodiak's Crab Festival 2012

After a delay in our final flight from Anchorage to Kodiak, we arrived in what was to become our new home. The weekend we finally arrived in Kodiak was the same weekend that they were having their annual Crab Festival. This festival is full of activities, arts and crafts boothes, amusement rides, and FOOD!

The Food

The first day we went, Tom and I shared two different dishes. The fist dish was a "Bruin Burger". I didn't understand, at first, what this was. But, quickly learned that it was a favorite of all the locals that frequented the Crab Festival. It was bear meat (yes, bear meat) that was surrounded by a pastry that was also filled with cheese. It was warm, tender, and probably one of the best comfort foods I've ever tried. I was glad that I ate it before I saw the picture of two very cute bears on the back of a snow-mobile, looking very human. Anthropomorphizing animals can make eating them a bit harder to do.

The next meal was much easier to eat where my conscience was concrened. But, my hands found it hard to get past the hard and overly pointy shell of the giant crab legs. Once I got past the hard exterior, the treasure inside was more than worth it. Each morsel of meat was dipped in to melted butter and delivered in to my mouth with salivating joy. The crab meat was sweet, salty, and oh-so-yummy. It made the hour long wait in an extraordinarily long line well-worth the wait.

The following day we had the Blackened Halibut Wrap...

There was the grilled, terriaki chicken on a stick...

Tom had the grilled, terriaki pork on a stick...

And, we both shared the scallops in what was supposed to be a pesto sauce, but ended up being a cream-based (sweet cream, mind you) sauce that was so rich I thought every bite was heavenly...

The Coast Guard

The Coast Guard, ofcourse, made a special appearance. They had their rescue swimmers fish a fellow coasty out of the fridged waters...

This video does a nice job of showing the rescue. What it doesn't show was how close they were getting to the dock for the rescue. The helicopter took so long to get to the swimmer that the currents brought him close to the dock. Then, the water from the blades of the helicopter brought he and the rescue swimmer even closer to the docks. The swimmer had to swim to the rescue line lowered down to him. Tom and I were standing on the bank, along with hundreds of other onlookers, and got scattered with a great deal of water as the blades whipped around on that cool contracption.

They also had a survival suit (or Gumby suit) race. Several teams of four participated. They take their life-saving knowledge seriously out here in Alaska, especially when people are fishing and recreationally on the ice-cold waters that surround Kodiak and the Alaskan Penninsula. These suits are designed to keep people warm in the ice cold waters, long enough for the Coast Guard to resuce them. My favorite team had two adults and two children. The children, once they got in their Gumby suits, jumped on to the backs of the two men who swam with them to the designated flotation device. Once they were all four inside, their time was called. Although they did not win the race, they did get the most cheers from the crowd of on-lookers.

The Art

There was also a great deal of art at the Crab Fest. Some of the high school students created a sculpture of an octopus out of the fishing scrapts they collected off of the rocky beaches in the area. It was bright, and fun.

There were murals with references to the sea...a very popular motif, go figure.

There was the Memorial Wreath, placed in front of the Harbor Master and next to the marina. It symbolizes all the lost souls who died in the sea over the years.

The Harbor Master also had the bell as a symbol for the sound that safely brings home the sailors from their travels in the sea.

There is a big competition to see who can come up with the logo that is used on all of the t-shirts and sweatshirts sold for the Crab Festival in Kodiak. This year, a youngster (I believe he was not yet a teenager) drew the picture that won the competition. So fun...

This YouTube video shows the Crab Festival from beginning to end. It has the parade (shot from the very spot that Tom and I watched it go by - incidentally, the Farmer's Insurance building you see in the video during the parade is where Tom and I now get our insurance from). You also get to see the full rescue from the Coast Guard, and just how many people come to watch in these events. Even though the video was taken in 2011 (just last year), you still get a really good idea of the fun that we had in 2012.

Such a great time to come to Kodiak!

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