On Saturday, Sept. 9, Fishermen's Terminal will host the 18th annual Fishermen's Fall Festival. Sponsored by the Fishermen's Terminal Tenant's Association, the fishing industry and Port of Seattle, along with the support of many local businesses, the festival has long been a community staple for residents of the neighborhoods surrounding Salmon Bay.

"People come from all over," says Steve Funk of the Tenant's Association. "It's a great place to spend the day with your family, but it's also a good way for people from Ballard, Magnolia and Queen Anne to get reacquainted with their neighbors in the fishing industry."

While the festival, which lasts from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., provides an opportunity to meet and learn about the commercial fishermen of the Salmon Bay-based North Pacific fishing fleet, the focus is also on having fun. Featuring live music from a wide variety of performers, games, contests, food and many activities for children, the festival offers a little something for everyone.

An outdoor barbecue organized by members of the local fishing community will offer salmon meals for $8 and hot dogs for $4. All food purchases come with a beverage and dessert, and the salmon meal also includes fresh corn on the cob. All proceeds from the barbecue will benefit the Seattle Fishermen's Memorial. A non-profit organization that's served the local fishing community for over 20 years, the memorial was behind the installation of the bronze monument at Fishermen's Terminal and also provides such services as grief support and safety training to commercial fishermen and their families.

"Fishing can be a dangerous profession," Funk says, "and the Fishermen's Memorial does a lot of good work to help people through the hard times. They're the ones who're there for the family of a fisherman if he has the misfortune of being lost at sea."

However, even the inherent danger of the job offers inspiration for fun and games at the festival. At 3 p.m. there will be a survival suit race in which local fishermen and women will compete to see who can most quickly don his or her oversized, orange neoprene survival suit (also called "Gumby Suit"), jump into the water and swim out to a waiting life raft. The suits can keep fishermen warm and afloat in harsh waters if they're forced to abandon ship, but they're incredibly heavy, awkward and cumbersome, which should make for an entertaining race.

Other events include an oyster-shucking demonstration courtesy of The Joy of Oysters author, "Oyster Bill" Whitbeck; an oyster slurp, in which oyster lovers are invited to compete to consume 10 Canadian Certified Safe oysters on the half shell without using their hands; seafood preparation demonstrations by Anthony's Chef Bill Riley and Jon Speltz of Wild Salmon Seafood Market; and a lutefisk-eating contest (lutefisk fans should come hungry-the winner of the contest will have to consume a full pound of the stuff). There will also be a celebrity dunk booth featuring the Hanson Brothers of the Discovery Channel's Alaskan crab fishing show, "Deadliest Catch."

Music will be provided all afternoon by a wide variety of artists, including local favorite Artis the Spoonman, Hawaiian/Tahitian dance troupe Sunshine from Polynesia and up-tempo twang purveyors Knut Bell and the Blue Collars.

From miniature wooden-boat building and spin art to a trout fishing pond and oyster art station, the festival features many activities for kids. Highlights include an educational show put on by Scott Peterson the Reptile Man and his menagerie of scaly friends, and an appearance by Seattle staple J.P. Patches.

"I have to admit that I always look forward to the kids' stuff," Funk says. "J.P. Patches? He's been around since I was a kid. The guy's a legend."

For the curious of all ages, the U.S. Coast Guard and Sea Explorer Scout ships will be open to the public all afternoon.

While more than 200 volunteers have already signed up to work the event, there is always room for more. If you are interested in volunteering at the festival, stop by Chinook's at Salmon Bay and ask general manager, Dean Paglialunga, for the signup sheet.

What: Fishermen's Fall Festival

When: Sat, Sept. 9

Where: Boardwalk of Fishermen's Terminal, 1900 West Nickerson Street, Seattle

Time: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cost: Free