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Charleston Seafood Festival

Aiden Reisenbigler of Coos Bay reels in a trout Saturday from an Oregon Fish and Wildlife pen with help from volunteer Braden Walters during the Charleston Seafood Festival in Charleston on Saturday.

CHARLESTON — Seafood lovers from all over gathered at the Charleston Marina over the weekend to celebrate and indulge in their favorite seafood dishes at the annual Charleston Seafood, Beer and Wine Festival.

For 29 years, festival-goers have been able to enjoy a variety of seafood classics as well as a number of family-friendly activities and live music.

The Charleston Volunteer Firefighter’s Association, which host the yearly festival, has over the years sold its award-winning, homemade clam chowder at the event as a way to raise funds for the association.

The association uses the funds to purchase equipment and training courses for its volunteer firefighters.

“We’ve talked in the past about possibly expanding out and doing more festivals,” said festival organizer and CVFA Treasurer Christopher Eiselein. “If so, it’ll be another way we can make more money for the association.”

Among its many projects, the association he said is looking to restore a 1942 Ford Fire Truck. While it’s in the very beginning stages, CVFA is hoping to return the truck to its former glory and get it up and running.

This year, the festival featured about 40 vendors which included a diverse lineup of food trucks, arts and crafts vendors as well as regional craft beers and wines from companies around the region.

The Hungry Spirit, a new food vendor at this year’s festival, offered attendees  interested in looking for something sweet a taste of its homemade fry bread.

“We’ve been coming to the Charleston Seafood Festival for years as guests,” said co-owner Deliliah Davies of The Hungry Spirit. “This summer we started our own fry bread booth and thought this would be a great festival to be part of.”

Deliliah was joined by her husband and fellow co-owner, Josh, as well as their children over the weekend preparing and selling fry bread to the hundreds of people who attended this year’s festival.

“It’s something we’ve always wanted to do,” said Deliliah. “We love to cook and bake so being here has just been so much fun.”

Fresh albacore tuna on the grill Saturday at Grahams Pacific Grill during the Charleston Seafood Festival in Charleston.

The fry bread taco and the Aunty C’s classic, which is topped with honey butter and a honey drizzle, was by far its most popular food items, said Delilah. The family is hoping to continue with its business and expand to more festivals in the future.

Also in attendance was Charleston Fishing Families, a nonprofit organization aimed at assisting fishing families in Coos County during times of need. Kori Wright, a board member with the organization, said having a table at the festival provides its group with the perfect opportunity to do some outreach and spread the word about its projects. The funds raised at the festival will go toward its Fisherman’s Relief Fund, which helps provide financial support to fishing families in need.

“Our goal is really to spread the word and help people,” said Wright.

Wright added the group has been a part of the festival for about three years where they’ve become known for their shrimp and crab cocktails which were donated by Hallmark Fisheries Pacific Seafood, the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission and Bandon Pacific Seafood. 

The three-day festival, which was co-sponsored by the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay and K-DOCK Radio, also featured a free ODFW trout pond for children under the age of 11. For those interested in learning more about the Charleston Fire District visit its Facebook page online.

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Reporter Amanda Linares can be reached at 541-266-2039 or by email at amanda.linares@theworldlink.com.

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