The Santa Barbara Spiny Lobster Fest took place Saturday on the outdoor patio of the Maritime Museum, featuring live music, gourmet dishes and live lobster for sale.
Around 250 community members gathered on the patio throughout the afternoon festival on Saturday to enjoy drinks, live music by Jackson Gillies and lobster dishes, including paella and bisque, prepared and served by Uncorked Wine Tasting and Kitchen chef Michael Amador.
With the Santa Barbara Harbor Festival canceled for the second consecutive year due to COVID-19, Kim Selkoe, the CEO of Get Hooked Seafood and executive director of the nonprofit Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara (CFSB), decided to organize a smaller-scale event on Saturday.
“(These events) are so important because it’s a great way to get connected to the community and it also really helps the community learn about our local fisheries and know that we’re all a part of them,” Ms. Selkoe told the News-Press on Saturday. “Normally the Harbor Fest generates about $2,000 in donations to our organization — we haven’t had that the last two years. So we’re hoping to make up for that today.”
The funds raised from the event help the CFSB to pursue the interests of the local fishing community, Chris Voss, the president of the organization, told the News-Press on Saturday. He explained that the local organization is connected to the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), a statewide organization that speaks on behalf of all smaller-scale fishermen associations.
“With the funds that we generate from these kinds of events, we then can support a voice in Sacramento and also engage with PCFFA, so it funds our efforts to represent ourselves in the bigger issues that are coming our way,” Mr. Voss added.
The event, in addition to raising funds for CFSB, was also a way for local fishermen to gain exposure and spread the word about the weekly Saturday Fishermen’s Market at the harbor, which takes place every Saturday from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Local fisherman Joseph Garrigan, and his wife, Melissa, who own Garrigan Seafood Co, are just one of several business owners who set up booths each week at the market. They were present at Saturday’s Lobster Fest to sell live lobsters from a side table and also provided the lobster that was used to make the gourmet dishes offered at the event.
The Garrigans said that events like Saturday’s Lobster Fest help their business gain exposure and raise awareness for all fishermen who sell at the weekly Saturday market.
“I meet people every week that come down to the Saturday market and say ‘wow we never knew this was here,’” Mr. Garrigan told the News-Press. “So this kind of event, that’s kind of why we’re here, is to tell people that we have a Saturday market where you can buy local seafood right from the boat.”