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Class of 1963 Message List
Crab Fest - 10
04/30/17     Greg Norton  (1963)      sgnorton@hotmail.com
Every year Port Angeles, WA (we call it PA) organizes and puts on what it calls “The Crab Festival”. It is always set up on and next to the PA public pier, public docks and Hollywood Beach, all of which is part of the PA waterfront. The waterfront extends about a mile to the west ending with the Nippon Paper Company (which is up for sale if you are interested). The location adds to the flavor and excitement of the event as there are the constant sea breezes coming in from across the Juan de Fuca Straits; frequent arrivals and departures of the British Columbia Coho ferry, which moors next to the public pier and backs into its pier slip (for me it is amazing and fun to watch a 340’ long, 72’ wide ship, which carries up to 1,000 passengers and 115 autos, perform this feat); invariably a monster container ship or two will arrive in the PA port (which is the deepest port in the USA and can simultaneously handle three ships up to 1,200 feet in length and not interfere with other harbor shipping – go to the Port of Port Angeles website (www.portofpa.com) and you can view the entire port in color; the spit on the left terminates in a US Coast Guard station; on the far end of the picture can be seen the old Rainier docks which are not used today; the next closer pier from the Rainier docks is the public pier); and of course, the many seagulls singing and flying overhead and begging for handouts.
Twenty thousand people attended this year, and they ate over 10,000 pounds of crabs; and I guess they bought about 10,000 of the red crab-fest hats. The main tent was the food and music tent with about 20 restaurants serving an unbelievable array of food freshly cooked (Judi and I got the halibut sandwich from the 7 Cedars Casino booth – the halibut piece was larger than the bun by a factor of 2); there was seating in the main tent for over 1,500 people plus seating outside all around; of course the wine and beer service occupied one end of the tent; all food and drink served to sounds of a new band every hour for three days. At all times the food lines ran out the entrance way.
Out on the pier were 60 vendor tents selling everything from potholders to paella to face painting. Plus, a big area for games for kids like fishing for crabs and trout. The first day was windy with 35 mph gust and rain; day two started that way, but this did not deter the attendees. I often wonder why any sane person would put themselves into this orderly chaos so often (I am talking about the vendors that go from one event to the next, setting up tents, hauling and setting out hundreds of items to sell, dealing with crowds all day, hauling and putting it all away after three exhausting days). PFOA (Peninsula Friends of Animals) sold over $3,000 of potholders and now I understand – still there is nothing easy about it.
If it were not for Judi staffing the PFOA tent one day and collecting the money every day (she was the Treasurer of PFOA at the time), we would have attended maybe one time just to get that halibut sandwich and listen to selected bands we like from past performances. But we were there for all three days and while Judi was staffing the PFOA tent, and since I do not like crowds or continuous loud music, I found a sidewalk seat outside a restaurant across the street from the main tent, well behind the band stage, to sit and watch the myriad of people passing up and down the street. What an amazing treat that turned out to be!
The first thing that comes to my attention, which was proven over and over again, is how so many people are determined to be different than anyone else. It normally starts with the hair style and or color or mix of colors. And for the men it is the beard and or mustache and or side burns and or pig tales and or words shaved into the scalp.
From there it progresses to cloths; remember the mini skirt era? Then the boots and then wearing the pants down below the buttocks hump (how they stay there has been a mystery since I saw the first person doing this); and when the person realizes they are not getting much attention, they up the game.
Now comes tattoos (I was told once that if one paints their entire body, they will slowly die because the body needs to absorb oxygen through the skin and this prevents that from happening; and the body must sweat to regulate body temperature and to expel toxins; but this does not seem to be the truth) which when placed seemingly on top of each other cease to have any discernable artistic or literary value (and just wait till they age about 30 or 40 years and see what they look like!}; plus, the entire body, over time, appears to be covered (I have never seen the genital area so I am not entirely sure) 100% with ink. How these people have avoided hepatitis is beyond understanding and the law-of-averages.
Then come the body piercings; my god, what sadists some people must be; through the ears, the lips, the nose, the eyebrows, the cheeks, the tongue, the nipples (where else?); and some of these sites are with multiple items; I have counted ten in each ear and five or six in the bottom lip and three or four in the nose ( I do remember a National Geographic article on a tribe in Africa that puts saucers between the front of the teeth and the inside of the lip – and they keep increasing the diameter of saucers until the lip is stretched out to an unbelievable width, maybe 8” or more; and they do this on both upper and lower lips. It is quite a sight to see; why and how they live this way is to be pondered, probably some shaman convinced them it is the will of god or doing so keeps the bad spirits away – remember, more doctors recommended Winston cigarettes than any other brand!). Maybe the saucers in the lips are the next big fad here.
I know some artist paint by just throwing different colors onto a canvas. If I could just have a paint-blow gun that would project every color on the rainbow onto the canvas at one time such that it mostly hits together in the center as just one mixed blotch of color, this would accurately portray the people at the Crab Festival. Sure there would be some isolated dots of this color or that on the fringes, but these would be accurate too. I am just not sure if the outliers represent the oddballs in the group or the few remaining “normal” folks like me!
Always there are the smokers (the wind always blows across them and over to me so I have to smell the rancid stuff plus whatever is growing in their lungs and mouths). Why does there continue to be such a large population of smokers? How many warnings must be posted before any of them open their eyes and realize what their lungs become due to the smoke? And the cost to smoke today ain’t cheap at $4 to $5 a pack – and some smoke two or three packs a day. At two packs that adds up to $1,643 a year plus the increased insurance and healthcare costs to be incurred. But tobacco is a large business that makes some people a lot of money – and they keep a lot of congress folks in office, so it is far from being a dead industry – better to call it a habit of the walking dead.
Crab Fest draws from Seattle, Portland, Bellingham, Tacoma, Grays Harbor, British Columbia and the Olympic Peninsula. As a result there are Canadians, Asians, Native Americans, Scandinavians and a good mix of other folks that come from every nationality. Such diversity is always fun to watch as it passes by in review.
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