Mussel into 20th festival for Coupeville’s mollusks

The Penn Cove Mussel Festival is a must for mollusk lovers.

This year’s bulked up festival, now in its 20th year, is meatier than ever and returns Saturday and Sunday with activities celebrating the tasty bivalve.

Festival headquarters at Coupeville Recreation Hall is the first stop, especially for newcomers. Visitors can learn about free activities and purchase passes for boat rides to the shellfish farm featuring an underwater camera showing the farmed mollusks.

Continual activities throughout the weekend include the Mussel Fest Craft Gallery, “mussel” massages, children’s activities at the wharf and scavenger hunts for adults.

If eating is what you desire, there are many opportunities to do just that. Visitors can sample the sea snacks prepared in a variety of ways during eating contests, at vendor booths and at the mussel chowder competition taking place at local restaurants.

Mussel-eating machines of all ages can shuck their way to stardom in the annual mussel-eating competition beginning at 3:30 p.m. both days. Signup starts at 12:30 p.m. each day.

The popular mussel chowder tasting showcases creations by Coupeville’s restaurant community. Ballots are available at headquarters for $5. Participants can ride the mussel shuttle bus to each location from noon to 4 p.m., score the chowder and return the ballot for the Peoples Choice award. Completed ballots are entered in drawings for prizes.

Additional entertainment is held in the Penn Cove Mussel Wine and Beer Garden across from the hall. The tent is open from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Visitors can watch cooking demonstrations, purchase cooked and fresh mussels from vendors and listen to live music.

Each year, the festival sells and samples some 60,000 mussels farmed at Penn Cove Shellfish in Coupeville.

Rat City Rollergirls: The hottest thing on wheels will be rockin’ and rollin’ Saturday night at the Everett Events Center in the “2006 Charity Brawl,” a benefit for several non-profit organizations in Snohomish and King counties.

Named after an “old-school” term for the south part of Seattle, the Rat City Rollergirls league was established in April 2004. The grassroots league is owned and operated by its nearly 80 members, who moonlight as fierce, competitive rollergirls.

The Rat City Rollergirls includes four teams: the Derby Liberation Front, the Throttle Rockets, Grave Danger and the Sockit Wenches. These teams participate in competitive roller derby bouts on a flat track in an amateur athletic season that lasts from March through October.

Roadsters roll up to Qwest: The Seattle Roadster Show rolls into Qwest Field Event Center through Sunday with a collection of custom cars, imports and classic hot rods.

Special attractions at this year’s show include guest celebrities such as Big Schwag of Monster Garage, Barry White of Street Rod Repair Co. and Champ car racer Justin Wilson.

10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Coupeville. Most events free, $5 for chowder tasting ballot. 360-678-1100,

Seattle’s Import Motion Car Show returns on Saturday only and features super-tuned engines and wild interiors full of audio and video electronics.

Children can learn model car building, ask questions and build their own model for free at the Model Car Expo. JT and the Tourists will perform hits from the ’50s through ’90s.

An expanded motorcycle show features choppers, drag bikes, super bikes and customs.

Some of the cars displayed from “Overhaulin’” seasons two and three are the California Performance Bel Air, Road Runner, Illegal Fowl and Soldier’s Ride.

Elizabeth Armstrong / The Herald

Janine and Andy Elf compete against Mark Short in the Penn Cove mussel munching competition a few years ago. Andy Elf emerged the winner.

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