Sinclair Inlet will soar with activity this Memorial Day weekend. But among the lively events, such as Port Orchard’s Fathoms of Fun Festival, and Bremerton’s Kitsap Harbor Festival, is one of the regions more unique celebrations: The Seagull-Calling Festival.
“It’s a fun, silly thing that we do during Harbor Fest weekend,” said Christine Daniel, executive director of the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce.
May 24 will be Port Orchard’s 26th Seagull-Calling Festival.
The calling takes place at Port Orchard’s Waterfront Marina Park. Competing callers register at 9 a.m., and the contest starts at 10 a.m. A panel of judges will consider the performance and effectiveness of each caller.
“We have children, adults and even pets that dress up in costumes and do their best to call the seagulls,” said Elizabeth Doll of the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event.
One by one, callers walk onto the beach and do their best impression of a seagull call, aiming to attract the birds. Contestants are allowed to bring food to bribe the birds. In fact, bribing the judges is not unheard of.
“Everyone enjoys it, most of all the seagulls, who get quite a bit of food,” Doll said.
When all is squawked and done, the judges hand out prizes for a variety of feats, some made up that day.
“They create a variety of different awards,” Doll said.
“Best Dressed, Best Call, Most Seagulls Called, Best Dressed Pet,” she listed.
The gulls aren’t the only residents of Port Orchard that will enjoy a tasty bite at the festival. In the annual Seagull Wings Cook-Off, professional and amateur cooks face off in a battle to impress palates with their take on “seagull wings” — more commonly referred to as chicken wings.
“There will be 10 commercial competitors,” Daniel said. Port Orchard’s Moondogs Too will defend its title, earned at last year’s cook-off.
The public gets to experience a flavorful array of wing wonders.