Organizers hope food, fundraising and entertainment will reel in locals for the fifth annual Off The Hook Seafood Festival this Saturday.

The ticketed event includes seafood tastings, live music, an oyster shucking competition and an “artisan market” featuring sustainable art, original designs, and crafts vendors.

“Off the Hook began in 2014 from a shared love of seafood and after many years of doing events around the city, we realized Santa Monica didn’t have a seafood festival and what better place for the event than the iconic Santa Monica Pier,” said Co-producer Rosalind Napoli. “The event has grown significantly each year with unique music programming, a sustainable seafood VIP lounge, an artisan market and dozens of restaurants and chefs eager to promote their dishes to the local community. There are also a number of food and beverage brands that approach us to launch their products at the festival.”

She said logistics for the event have adapted to the city over the years and Off The Hook does not use any single-use plastics in keeping with the City’s environmental efforts. The event also raises money for Heal the Bay.

“It was important for us to partner with a local charity and Heal the Bay was the perfect fit, with all of their great work with ocean and watershed protection and helping keep it safe, healthy and clean,” she said. “The CEO of Heal the Bay, Shelley Luce will be on site to speak to the cause and also help in judging the ever-popular oyster shucking competition.”

Luce said she was excited to participate.

“Heal the Bay is thrilled to be the nonprofit partner this year and excited by the direction restaurants are taking regarding seafood sustainability,” said Shelley Luce, CEO of Heal the Bay. “This event brings together the best restaurants and seafood dishes while also helping to draw awareness for sustainability and ocean-friendly lifestyle practices.”

Heal The Bay is currently recruiting volunteers to help with their annual Coastal Cleanup Day on Sept. 21. There are more than 70 sites that need help and volunteers can sign up online.
A portion of sales from the event go to the charity and the event will also host other fundraising partners such as sneaker company K-Swiss. The shoe maker will launch a limited edition Heal the Bay at the festival.

The festival will feature restaurants and chefs showcasing dishes such as Alaskan Oysters from Alaska Shellfish Co. with seasonal cranberry mignonette from Blue Plate Oysterette, Albacore Tuna Tartare tacos from Cafe Del Rey, Dungeness Crab Salad from The Lobster, Bay Shrimp Ceviche from Herringbone, Octopus Agua Chile with Black Ant Ash from Nixo Patio Lounge, Polynesian ‘Ota ’Ika from Chef Gregorio Ignacio and more. Other restaurant offerings from Cleo Hollywood, Red O, Sushi Roku, Margo’s, The Albright, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Enterprise Fish Co., Emporium Thai, The Venice Whaler, TUMBI Craft Indian Kitchen, Jaliscos Tacos, Gastro Garage, Poke Ceviche, Seaside on the Pier, Kitchen Catch and Bento Moderno.

“Our wish each year, is to bring the local community together for a fun-filled day of food and music by the ocean, while educating people on the amazing seafood offerings in Santa Monica, and drawing awareness for sustainable seafood practices,” said Napoli.

Tickets are $65 for general admission which includes tastings, access to the beer and wine garden, spirits tastings, live music and games. Tickets are available online at www.offthehookseafoodfest.com. For more information on Heal The Bay, visit www.healthebay.org.

editor@smdp.com