About the Area
Penn Cove Musselfest Mussel Festival
The Penn Cove Musselfest mussel festival is held every year in the first part of March in the Central Island area of Whidbey. Centered in the town of Coupeville, a short drive south of Oak Harbor, the festival features mussels and music, as well as other fun for all the family.
Celebrated by the entire Central Whidbey community, the festival celebrates the sea-faring culture of the area while also raising money for a good cause and presenting a rousing good time for all participants.
A Mussel, Beer, and Wine garden is one of the features of the festival, taking place on the Saturday. All kinds of mussels are typically served from 11:30 a.m. through 5, while beer and wine is sold through 9 p.m., as a variety of bands and musical artists entertain the crowd into the evening.
Stay at the Coachman Inn in Oak Harbor for the best access to the Penn Cove Musselfest. You'll be away from the crowds when you want to relax, but only short drive from the action when you want to be in the middle of things.
Lots of mussel eating, with mussels cooked in a variety of styles, highlights the festival. The opening event is a mussel mingle on Friday night, with live music, mussels, and drinks.
Saturday visitors can enjoy the bulk of the festival's activities. A display and demonstration of the historic instruments and community bands from the time period when every Whidbey Island community had its own band, and other cultural features highlight the festival.
Common to the festival is the mussel farm tour, where visitors can board a boat and visit a mussel farm. An underwater camera gives a great view of the shellfish habitat and life cycle.
Mussel cooking demonstrations are another favorite activity during the day, and visitors will have plenty of opportunity to sample the wares after they're cooked.
The Penn Cove Shellfish Mussel and Beer Garden mentioned earlier is always a popular part of the festival, and proceeds from the Garden go to a worthy Whidbey Island charity. For the past few years, the Boys and Girls Club of Coupeville has benefited.
Mussel chowder tasting with samples of mussel chowders from many of the local restaurants is another activity that draws a crowd, with tasters submitting their votes for their favorite chowder. The winner has bragging rights until the next festival and a new vote.
There are also activities for children, including many mussel related crafts, stories and games. The kids can sing mussel songs and create their own souvenirs made of mussel shells.
The mussel eating contest is great for the observers as well as the participants. Brave souls compete to see who can down five 16 oz. cups of mussels the fastest.
The friendly Coachman Inn front desk staff will gladly tell you more about the Penn Cove Musselfest and other Whidbey Island events during your stay with them.
Before you check out the Musselfest, check into the nearby Coachman Inn, where we have been voted Best of Whidbey Island for two years running and awarded the AAA Three Diamond rating, their highest rating for vacation lodging. To check availability, call the Coachman now at 800-635-0043 or click here.