You can eat them, visit them, sing songs of praise to them, capture them in works of art and toast to their wonders.
Welcome to the 27th year of celebrating the blue and briny mussel at the Penn Cove Musselfest.
The festival kicks off Friday, but most of the events occur Saturday and Sunday and visitors are encouraged to start at festival headquarters in Coupeville at the recreation hall.
There, cooking demonstrations start at 10 a.m. on both days as local chefs from places like Seattle’s Space Needle and Microsoft Catering show off their skills. The popular chowder tasting competition starts at 11 a.m.
Other activities include trips aboard the Glacier Spirit to tour the Penn Cove Shellfish Farm. Tour tickets are $10.
You could stay on land and take a Mussel Shuttle to travel the “Chowder Tasting Route” aboard a 24-passenger coach. The free shuttles run a continuous loop from downtown Coupeville out to the Captain Whidbey Inn and back, along the route to south Main Street. Shuttle rides begin at 11 a.m. and go through 4 p.m.
For the kids, the weekend activities include art projects and a sing-along at 11:30 a.m. with Nancy Stewart, a national award-winning children’s entertainer.
From noon to 2 p.m. each day, kids can fish off Windjammer Pier, 22 Front St., and instead of fish, can reel in some treats and treasure, such as landing a golden mussel.
The Penn Cove Shellfish Mussel, Wine and Beer Garden has live music including Marcus Whiting, The Orville Johnson Band, The Steve Trembley Band.
There’s a mussel-eating competition at 3 p.m. each day.
The weekend includes a “Mussels in the Kettles” mountain bike poker ride. The Whidbey Island Working Artists are holding their Spring Studio Tour so visitors can see artists at work from Greenbank to Oak Harbor.
The Penn Cove MusselFest is from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, 901 NW Alexander St., Coupeville. Festival entry is free but certain activities come with a cost.
For more information call 360-678-5434 or for a complete schedule of weekend events go to www.thepenncovemusselsfestival.com.