Spring is the time for soft shell crabs, and Old Village Port Royal is the place to get them in just about any form imaginable.
The eighth annual Soft Shell Crab Festival runs from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday in the Old Village of Port Royal. The Old Village Association organizes the free festival to bring together local restaurants, crafters, musicians and artists for an afternoon on Paris Avenue.
The festival honors the soft shell crab, which is really a blue crab that has molted, exposing its sweet and tender meat.
Several restaurants -- such as Bricks on Boundary, Plums and Moondoggies -- come up with clever variations on how to serve the soft shell crab. Crab grinders, crab chowder and crab sandwiches of all sorts are available for purchase. A panel of judges votes on the best soft shell crab concoction.
If crab isn't your thing, burgers, barbecue, ice cream and more also will be available. Festivalgoers also will have a say in who had the best food in a people's choice vote.
Organizers expect close to 70 booths to line the street this year, about a third of those vending food. The rest of the booths will be filled with artisans, businesses and crafters selling their wares. Once again, a classic car show will feature dozens of old-school vehicles. The Headliners start playing at 1 p.m. Radio station 104.9 The Surf will have a live remote broadcast starting at 11 a.m.
Expect about 5,000 visitors to pass through this year, said Ann-Marie Adams, a co-organizer of the event. A wet afternoon hampered attendance last year, but organizers expect the festival to bounce back strong with a large group of vendors.
"The spirit of the people who've committed to this has been overwhelming," she said.