Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival

Nosh upon lobster, sea urchin, and a host of sustainable, straight-from-the-channel choices.

JessyLynn Perkins

TELL A FISH-FAVORING PAL... that you plan on spending a glorious day noodling down around Santa Barbara Harbor and you best prepare to answer a few questions, questions certain to be centered around a distinctive theme. Examples may include... Will you be ordering peel 'n eat shrimp? Or garlic clams? Are you going for the cioppino, or steamed mussels, or calamari pasta, or anything with lobster? It matters not that you haven't seen a menu yet, nor that you're not even quite sure where you'll eventually end up for lunch: Lovers of the picturesque, boat-filled expanse will want to know every last detail about what you hope to eat. Imagine, then, what a feasty, friend-filled, and all-out fun day it is at the Santa Barbara Seafood & Harbor Festival, a once-a-year celebration of the sustainable edibles delivered straight from the nearby Santa Barbara Channel. The 2017 party is on...

SATURDAY, OCT. 14, a primo, fall-soft day for the to-do, and foodies will be out in gotta-try-that force for an event devoted to quality seafood. Highlights include chatting with the people who fish on the channel, calling upon a host of specialty food booths (think barbecued albacore, fresh crab, fish tacos, more), and picking out sea urchin and having it "prepared on the spot" (along with lobster, if you like). You're right on the harbor, so there are those brochure-ready views to soak up, which you can do for free (for that's the price of admission). Buying bites? That'll cost, so have cash, but if you want to just enjoy the scene, simply show and pay no dough. Fire boat demos from the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol, dockside tours of the 99-year-old Ranger as well as Blackfin (the US Coast Guard Cutter), and other all-ages happenings festoon the sunshiny 'n briny day out by the classic waterfront.

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