By Steve Guntli
The festival formerly known as Discovery Days is returning this weekend, August 29 and 30, with a new name, a new location and new events.
The festival, now in its 36th year, has been rebranded as Discover Birch Bay Days and Crab Fest. The Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce is shifting the focus of the festival to highlight local crabbing, while still retaining the old Discovery Days spirit. The festival, which is usually held in July, was moved to late August to take advantage of crabbing season. The festivities will be held at the Birch Bay beach park property at 7930 Birch Bay Drive.
The weekend’s festivities begin with the Discovery Day Dash, a short run from The C Shop to the beach park. Runners can register for the race online at birchbaychamber.com.
The annual parade will immediately follow the race. In keeping with the festival’s new focus, the parade will feature crab-themed floats, costumes and performers.
After the parade, take part in the first-ever crab derby, which will offer thousands of dollars in cash prizes. Crabbers can win money for snagging the heaviest crab and the heaviest catch each day. Birch Bay State Park ranger Ted Morris and Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce president Jeff Carrington will be tagging and releasing “money crabs,” which if caught could earn lucky crabbers big money. So far, more than $9,000 has been donated for the crab derby, with more donations coming in each day, Carrington said.
“We want to sell ourselves as the best place in the state for crabbing,” Carrington said at a recent Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Saturday will end with a community crab feed from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., where crabbers can partake in their daily catch.
On Sunday, the Ducky Derby, a yearly favorite, returns to Terrell Creek. Participants can name and release a rubber duck for $5 in a race to the finish. Ducks can be purchased at the Birch Bay Visitor Information Center until August 28 and at the arts and crafts fair August 29. The ducks will be released near the Terrell Creek bridge, and the first to reach the finish line can win one of several prizes, to be announced.
Live music, beer gardens and arts and crafts booths will be on display all weekend long, with vendors opening at 10 a.m. each day and closing at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday.For more information and a full schedule of events, visit birchbaychamber.com.