Seafood festivals pay homage to the inhabitants of the ocean, just as Renaissance festivals pay homage to the employees of Medieval Times. Show respect to seafood with today's Groupon: for $14, you get general-admission tickets for two to the Maryland Seafood Festival on Saturday and Sunday, September 10 and 11, at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis (up to a $28 value). Children aged 12 and younger can get in for free.
The Maryland Seafood Festival highlights the tastiest in seaside delicacies amid a bounty of arts and crafts, family events, and live music. Guitar strumming and soulful singing from well-known acts, such as Cowboy Mouth and CMA-nominated Steel Magnolias, fill the audio landscape and, like the pied piper's electric kazoo, methodically lure Maryland crabs, oysters, and shrimp from their underwater apartments into festival tents.
Families can observe, cheer wildly, or place bets as competitions, ranging from a crabcake-eating contest (Saturday at 4:30 p.m.) to a crab-picking contest (Sunday at 1 p.m.) indulge competitive spirits. Children's activities delight youths with horseshoe-crab exhibits and Randy Hofman's renowned sandcastle sculptures, and celebrity cooking demos explain how crabs wrote the screenplay for The Godfather: Part II.
Although food is not included with today's Groupon, seafaring chefs whip up cool drinks and maritime treats, such as shrimp-packed Firehouse crab balls ($6) and the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association's freshly shucked oysters and clams ($2 each; $10 for six). Appetites stay shore-side with a land-loving pulled-pork sandwich from Red Hot & Blue ($8) or the Boy Scouts' rustic fries ($4), donning their own skins in lieu of wimpy work gloves.
Parking is not included with this Groupon, but $5 parking with free shuttle service is available at AACC.
Maryland Seafood Festival
Despite its food-centric name, the Maryland Seafood Festival casts a wide net over Chesapeake Bay culture, capturing the essence of the area’s music, art, sports, and cuisine in an annual celebration that has endured since 1967. For 30 of those years, the festival has camped out on Sandy Point State Park’s seaside grounds, where, like the mattress of a giant, the event sprawls across a space the size of nearly three football fields.
On Saturday, the festivities kick off with one of the event’s traditions: the Annual Crab Soup Cook-Off. After that, hungry patrons can sample local flavors at vendor booths by Jimmy's Famous Seafood, Laughing Crab, Costas Inn, Mason's Famous Lobster Rolls and the Boy Scout Troop 278 among many others, or visit chef demos where pros impart tips on preparing dishes such as blackened snakehead and oyster shooters.
Local artisans also fill festival tents, selling colorful wares that range from jewelry to furniture. A lineup of live music will soundtrack the event through most of the weekend, helping kids bop to the beat in bouncy houses while adults sample imported and craft beers from local brewers.
1100 E College Pkwy.
Annapolis, Maryland 21409Get Directions