Seattle Maritime Festival

When tourists crowd the Pike Place Market each summer, I inevitably end up cursing the throngs dazedly wandering the cobbles like they own the place. (Hey, why don’t you stop in the middle of a crowded sidewalk to take a picture or consult your map?) The Seattle Maritime Festival isn’t going to help. Today’s activities begin with a chowder cook-off that runs all day at eight waterfront restaurants including Ivar’s, the Crab Pot, and Elliott’s Oyster House. It’s all-you-can chow for the price of a $5 “chowder passport.” There’s also a survival suit race in the Bell Harbor Marina at 11 a.m. (you know, those orange inflatable get-ups they wear on Deadliest Catch). But the main attraction is the tugboat racing between Pier 59 and Myrtle-Edwards Park (noon to 3 p.m.). Between heats, the Coast Guard will do a helicopter rescue demonstration. Other family friendly activities include tours of various vessels, one owned by the Canadian Navy. I love chowder. And I love a Canadian in a uniform. So I guess I’ll have to be a little more patient with those tourists. Even the ones riding the Duck. (Info: 728-3163 and SUZIE RUGH

Sat., May 9, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., 2009

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