the annual Maryland Seafood Festival
…was held as usual, at Sandy Point State Park, on the “other side”, in the shadow of the Bay Bridge.
Two days of seafood, music, crowds and fun. There were tons of arts and crafts vendors. My personal favorite was the Little White Fashion Truck, Shelley Sarmiento’s brilliant traveling retail shop – and yes, you can expect to see one of these in your (urban) neighborhood soon. This is the gal that created White House/Black Market years ago. Her Fed Ex truck retro-fit is packed with fashion, from jackets and handbags to jewelry and dresses. And yes, there is a fitting room in there….
There was a mermaid parade:
all kinds of fun for the kids…
and a fantastic crab soup cook-off where more than a dozen local chefs competed against each other with traditional (cream and vegetable) and some very inventive crab soups (think melon)…
The best crabcakes of all had to be the ones given away free by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Steve Vilnit was there with DNR staff and chefs, cooking up a storm. State is the DNR Director of Fisheries Marketing, with a background in the food industry, and he’s helping shape new markets for our state’s local seafood. If you’ve heard about yellow perch lately, that’s his work. If you’ve heard about the Maryland True Blue Program – where restaurants participate by agreeing to serve mostly DNR-certified Maryland Crab, that’s Steve’s work as well. This is a huge deal in a world where Asian crabmeat is everywhere (and tastes like spongy nothing, compared to the sweet taste of MD blue crabs). So many restaurants have been serving Asian crab (think Phillips Restaurant, the big Baltimore, Ocean City chain, who has been doing this since the 1990s, and passing it all off as Maryland crab). I’m a huge fan of this Steve Vilnit – he’s everywhere and making a big difference. Thanks for the crabcake with the local corn relish, Steve – YUM.
<hot, hungry, sunburned and sweaty, I didn’t have my camera for the crabcake>
…and for the non-seafood lovers, lots of food choices beyond fried rockfish and crabcakes. Anybody for grilled cheese? YES, there was a line there all weekend.
But the big deal came on Saturday evening, when a storm rolled in. Now, it was no surprise, since everybody knew it was coming. Here’s a shot of the storm as it rolled in (taken by a vendor, not me – honestly, I high-tailed it OUT of there after watching the weather predictions.
But lots of people didn’t pack up for the storm – nobody was hurt, although there was a lot of damaged tents, product and displays. I don’t understand why people didn’t pack up and secure their stuff, but it seems that everyone was holding onto their tents and things were flying through the air. A lady screaming for help under a tent, etc. Frightening, how bad it could have been, and indeed, this same storm injured a dozen people at another outdoor festival not so far away in a different part of Maryland.
And next morning, no surprise, art emerged from the mess.