The Inochi Taiko Japanese Drummers returned for another Fall Festival.
The Inochi Taiko Japanese Drummers returned for another Fall Festival.

The sea’s bounty was on full display during the 31st annual Fishermen’s Fall Festival on Saturday.

Fishermen’s Terminal — the Port of Seattle’s oldest facility — was brimming with fishing boats, which recently returned from Alaskan waters.

The Fishermen’s Fall Festival celebrates the return of the more than 300 vessels in the North Pacific Fishing Fleet, educates the public about the fishing industry and the seafood it provides, and raises funds for the Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial Foundation, which supports families of fishers lost at sea. A memorial in the Fishermen’s Terminal plaza recognizes 675 lost.

“We’re very happy and fortunate to benefit from some of the proceeds from this event,” said Delmas Whittaker, Fishermen’s Terminal manager and member of the Fishermen's Memorial Committee.

The foundation provides safety programs, grief counseling, and college scholarships for children of lost fishers.

“We try to help where we can, and often those folks will submit to be funded by the foundation,” Whittaker said. “The seas are unpredictable, but the fishers are doing the best they can to keep their crews safe, and we’re doing the best we can to support them in this endeavor.”

Festival admission is always free, as are the children’s activities, which include a bouncy ship, a visit from Reptile Man, shell art, fish prints and wooden boat building.

The foundation benefits from the proceeds from the food booths, which include barbecue salmon, cod tacos and halibut. Trident Seafoods tested out its pasta made from pollock during this year’s festival. It has the texture of a scallop, but without a fishy flavor. The selling point is a high-protein, low-carb substitute to traditional pasta.

The Fishermen’s Fall Festival is buoyed by the 250 volunteers it takes to pull it off each year. The Fishermen’s Terminal Retail Tenant Association assembles a committee that begins planning in February and keeps going up until the festival, said Annie Sullivan, who handles communications for Anthony’s Restaurants, which includes Chinook’s restaurant at the terminal.

“The barbecue tents always seem to get filled up pretty quickly,” Sullivan said.

Volunteers also enjoy working with children at the wooden boat-building tent, which festival-goers could easily find by following the sound of hammering.

“It’s a very popular attraction,” Sullivan said. “It has been for years.”

Wild Salmon Seafood Market owner Paul Cassidy has been heavily involved in the Fishermen’s Fall Festival since she opened her business at the terminal 24 years ago. She was happy with this year’s turnout and the community support.

“As a community festival, all volunteer run, all donation funded, I am always amazed each year at how marvelous the festival is,” Cassidy said. “When everybody give a little, look what you can achieve.”