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Introducing the Crabtown Seafood Festival in Downtown Hampton

August 07, 2018 |

Navigate your way through Downtown Hampton along the Hampton River as we celebrate the local seafood industry at the Crabtown Seafood Festival, Saturday, September 8, 2018, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.  Festivities will run from Mill Point Park (along the waterfront) to Carousel Park, offering guests a beautiful view while indulging in seafood.  Festival-goers will shop among nautical artists and vendors selling original oils, prints, ink, watercolor, jewelry, soaps, glass, sculpture, ceramics, driftwood, seaglass, seashell, and metalwork, as well as see historical displays (watercraft, working instruments), and take part in make-and-take art projects. Families will enjoy nautical-themed games with prizes and free children’s activity stations spread throughout the festival area.   

Live bands will be featured at the Mill Point Park stage throughout the day, ranging from Jazz, Smooth R&B, Top 40, Soul, Americana and more. The complete schedule will be posted at www.hampton.gov/crabtown.  This new event is presented by the City of Hampton and Hampton Parks, Recreation & Leisure Services (757/727-8311). Admission and all activities are free.   

While enjoying seafood and family entertainment is a draw to the festival, emphasis will also be placed on discovering where seafood comes from, how it’s harvested, safe preparation, and how to best manage the environment in which it thrives. Participating organizations will engage visitors with exhibits including live animal displays, aquariums showing how various species purify the waters through natural processes, and how human intervention can negatively impact or enhance present conditions for future generations. Creating different structures for use in fostering hospitable habitats for oysters and other shellfish will be part of the fun and education. Participants include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Elizabeth River Project, Hampton Clean City Commission, Hampton History Museum, Hampton University, Hampton Waterways Restoration Project, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOA), and the Virginia Teach Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center (AREC). 

Attendees can try their hand at fishing with a catch-and-release activity hosted by Bass Pro Shop. A taste of commercial life on the water, including the buying, transport, and selling of oysters from tongs to shucking, can be experienced by boarding one of several vessels brought to the event by the Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Association. 

The educational component of the Crabtown Seafood Festival is hosted by the Hampton History Museum. The museum will present the story of how Hampton came to be known as “Crabtown,” and how a thriving seafood industry evolved from the ashes of the Civil War.  The innovative entrepreneurs, industrious boatmen, oystermen, fishermen, and the women who picked the crabmeat for canning and export around the world will be represented.  Models will illustrate the development of the various craft that continue to ply the waters off Hampton.         

Those looking for dock space during the Crabtown Seafood Festival are encouraged to contact marinas located throughout the downtown area, including the Hampton Public Piers (757/727-1276), Customs House Marine (757/636-7772), Bluewater Marina (757/723-6774), and Sunset Boating Center (757/722-3325).  Call for details and availability.