Mark your calendars and make your travel plans now to attend Santa Barbara's blink-and-you'll-miss-it festival for seafood enthusiasts.
The Santa Barbara Harbor and Seafood Festival celebrates local fresh catches — Photo courtesy of Patrik Neckman
The Santa Barbara Harbor and Seafood Festival takes place at the beautiful Santa Barbara harbor on Saturday, October 12th from 10 am until 5 pm. Scheduled to coincide with the beginning of lobster season, this outdoor festival celebrates all things oceanic with a combination of fresh catches, local food vendors, educational booths and live entertainment.
The main attraction at this seaside festival is, of course, the spectacularly fresh seafood brought in by area fishermen. Pools and tubs and tanks of live lobsters, crabs and a variety of fish line the docks. These are for sale during the festival for very reasonable prices. You may choose to bring your purchases home with you or pay a small additional fee to have them cooked while you wait, then served with piping hot bread and drawn butter.
Have your pick of seafood cooked while you wait — Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives
And if you love uni - sea urchin roe, considered a rare and pricey delicacy by many - you're in luck! Santa Barbara is home to some of the best sea urchin in the world. This is the best day to buy live urchin, priced at just $5 a pop. You can crack them open right on the dock to slurp out the buttery goodness while surrounded by fresh sea air.
The author's husband enjoys fresh sea urchin every year — Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives
In addition to gustatorial delights, the Santa Barbara Harbor and Seafood Festival offers free boat rides, ship tours and touch tanks. Catch a film at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and learn about local conservation efforts.
This festival may be one of Santa Barbara's best kept secrets, but now the secret is out!