Garibaldi Crab Races/Garibaldi Days
Looking for a fun event for the whole family?
Bring them to Garibaldi Days and the Garibaldi Crab Races!
Garibaldi on Tillamook Bay is a beautiful port town on the north end of the bay, with some of the best fishing and most scenic views in the region. Octopus, cod, rock fish, Dungeness crab and more are hauled out of the water daily here; learn how to do some fishing of your own, or simply watch the haul of the day.
While you can certainly visit any time and have a blast, this town is particularly vibrant on a couple of special occasions:
Enjoy a summer festival
Garibaldi Days, held on the fourth weekend of July, gets rolling with a big parade before lunch, followed by lots of games and entertainment throughout the day, including a kids fishing tank, a teen dance, and a waterball tug of war between the U.S. Coast Guard and the Garibaldi Fire Department. Families also enjoy rides on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railway, which pulls into the Garibaldi station all day. In the evening, there’s a big fireworks display over the bay. Between the fireworks, rock music, food vendors and beer garden, Garibaldi nights are as awesome as Garibaldi Days!
The best of Oregon Coast towns
The Garibaldi Crab Races, held the second weekend in March at the Old Mill in the center of town, is a small-town tradition not to be missed. Where else can you otherwise witness “normal” human beings bang their hands on inclined wooden race lanes and use psychic powers to urge their sideways-crawling Dungeness crabs to cross first over the finish line?
2015 marked the 30th anniversary of these legendary races, and teams from all over the country continue to compete. Human winners earn prizes. The crabs? Well, they can be found in some of the specialty dishes served up for the crowds!
It’s an exciting afternoon of drinks (look for local beers and wines being served on-site), tasty seafood and lots of cheering. As the website says, you’re not allowed to touch the crabs, but “bribery, sweet talking and yelling are encouraged!”.
All proceeds from this Lions Club event go towards providing hearing aids and prescription glasses to those in need throughout Tillamook County.
Not all just fun and games
While both these events are light-hearted celebrations, crab is serious business on the Oregon Coast! In the Northwest, we catch and export tons of crab (literally) every year. In the 2016-17 season, the state reported over 20 million pounds of crab caught commercially. This is a huge industry and an integral part of Oregon’s economy.
On that note, if you’re interested, you can always have a DIY crab dinner, even when there’s no festival going on. The spirit of the Crab Races may even help you select your dinner winner: did you know that the quicker and more lively a crab is, the more likely it is to be in good health (and therefore prime for cooking and eating)?
And you can enjoy your crabby meal without guilt. Happily for all you seafood-lovers, Dungeness crab has been proclaimed a “good alternative” to other types of overfished crustaceans, shellfish and fish species by Seafood Watch, an organization that makes recommendations based on the environmental impact of the fishing industry. So, crab is a good, sustainable way to get your fix!