Been craving a good party? Based on last year’s turnout, the second annual Crave the Coast food festival will be a good one. After the inaugural event attracted four times the number of guests expected, organizers of this year’s feast for the senses are preparing for another big day under the big tent on Saturday, Sept. 28 in Garibaldi.
“We were thrilled with how well it went in our first year,” said Nan Devlin, executive director of Visit Tillamook Coast & North Coast Food Trail. “One of the reasons we put this on is we want to showcase the Oregon Coast producers. There are so many people doing so many wonderful things and this gives them the chance to meet their customers and give people the chance to meet them.”
Crave the Coast is a celebratory event to highlight the businesses on the North Coast Food Trail, which stretches from Cannon Beach to Lincoln City. The more than 40 vendors fit with the trail’s credo: “Food, Farm, Fish and Forage,” but also include breweries, wineries and other small-batch beverage producers.
“A lot of our original vendors will be returning but we will have new ones too,” Devlin said. “Most of the vendors sold out last year.” Vendors will have items for sale like cheese, beer, fresh seafood, spirits, meats and farmers market produce, and many will offer tastings, samples and pairings.
The event will also include five cooking presentations and two games, which require no preregistration to participate in. One is called Name that Spot.
“We put images up on the screen of places along the North Coast and there is a buzzer for people to buzz when they recognize it,” Devlin said. “Tillamook Mayor Susan Weber won last year and she is coming back to defend her title.”
The other game is Guess the Grub, where three pairs of two choose who will be blindfolded and try to figure out what the other is feeding them.
“It’s a lot of fun to watch,” Devlin said. “People had a blast and there was a lot of laughter.”
The cooking demos will include “Peel n’ Eat Shrimp” with chef Mike Aldridge, “Making Ceviche Baja Style” with chef Maylin Chavez, “Out Of This World Oregon Cookies” with Chef Donna Riani and a demo from butcher Matt Freehill, “Cuttin’ It Up With Tillamook Meat.”
“One of the demonstrators is Matt Freehill of Tillamook Meat,” Devlin said. “He won ‘Best Butcher’ on the History channel show ‘The Butcher.’ He’s going to show us his award-winning techniques for carving.”
Another demo will be with a farmer with a passion for a plant that is on the rise.
“Wasabi is a super-interesting plant,” said farmer Jennifer Bloeser. “Someone gave me some plants about 10 years ago and I love plants so I took some home. I started growing it just to give away as gifts for neighbors and it slowly took over in my life.”
In her presentation, “History of Wasabi Plant & Sauteed Wasabi Greens,” Bloeser will show the best way to grill wasabi greens following a short biology and history lesson:
“It’s an ancient plant,” she said. “It has a lot of history as a medicine as well as its many culinary uses.”
Keeping things moving will be seasoned emcee AuGI Garred.
“He does a lot of this kind of emceeing and fundraising for things like the MS society,” Devlin said. “He also an improv actor and musician; he knows how to perform but he specializes in doing fundraisers for non-profits. He always keeps the act going; he’s very good.”
Organizers were also pleased to see so many neighbors at the inaugural event.
“We were fortunate that we got so many locals last year,” Devlin said. “We hope we have as many again. It’s a great event for mingling and making friends.”
And if you take a liking to the businesses you meet at the event, you can visit many of them during the rest of year along Oregon Coast Food Trail.
“To be listed, restaurants have to have at least 25 percent of their ingredients locally sourced, though most are closer to 75,” Devlin said. “Breweries have to be actually brewing on the North Coast, they can’t just be a tasting room; the same goes for distilleries.”
Check out the trail map at, northcoastfoodtrail.com to get locations or ideas for making multiple stops in one day.
Crave the Coast will be under the event tent in Garibaldi from 11 am until 4 pm. Adult tickets are $25 or $45 for two. For more information and tickets, go to cravethecoast.org.