The Kodiak Crab Festival, at 100 W. Marine Way, Kodiak, Alaska, has been a highly anticipated event on locals’ calendars since 1958. The festival, formerly known as King Crab Festival, began as a way to market the King Crab industry when it was not widely recognized.
Crab fisheries began to grow in Kodiak, but the King Crab didn’t grow with it, so the “King” part of the name was dropped. As years went by, crab became less of a feature of the festival, but it remained as part of the name for historical reasons.
The festival is held over five days at the end of spring and into the beginning of summer. It ends on Memorial Day and draws thousands of people to Kodiak Island every year. While the area itself is worth a visit, it’s the action-packed schedule at the festival that is the deciding factor for people to make the trip.
The festival has been home to coastguard demonstrations, marathons, fleet blessings, and a festival parade with motorbikes, military vehicles, and classic cars. There have also been art shows, a fish toss event, and dozens of vendors selling their wares to the happy masses.
When visitors want a break away from the festival, they then spend time at the many lakes, such as Mission Lake and Potato Patch Lake, and take scenic trips to the Kodiak Wind Turbines and the Alutiiq Museum. There’s never a time for boredom in Kodiak, so it might be time to stack the suitcases in the RV and catch the next ferry to Kodiak Island, Alaska.
The goal of the Kodiak Crab Festival is to provide a boost in tourism and assist with fundraising opportunities. While entry is free, you will need to pay to go on many of the rides and partake in some activities. This community event is all in the name of fundraising and community support.
Temperatures at the end of May on Kodiak Island can be quite low, which means that you need to take extra care on the roads to and around Kodiak. Be on the lookout for ice, top up your anti-freeze fluids, and download a weather and traffic app, so you know what you’re up against in this remote land.
Getting to Kodiak can also be a challenge in itself. Your reward will include breathtaking views, wildlife, and nature experiences not often seen elsewhere. With your family all packed up in the RV and ready to go, you may need to drive from Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula to reach the Homer Port area. There is then a nine-plus hour ferry ride to Kodiak. Fortunately, the Kodiak Crab Festival is mere meters from the Kodiak Ferry Terminal once you arrive.
Travelers may also want to consider where to start an RV adventure when planning a trip to Alaska. You may wish to fly directly into Alaska if coming from another US state or another country. RV motorists may also enjoy traveling through Canada if arrangements and time permit. Remember to have your passport in hand for customs across country lines.
Once you drive off the ferry at the Kodiak Ferry terminal, you need to locate parking for your visit to the festival. There is limited visitor parking available, and none for large RVs. The best option for visitors is to find street parking large enough to accommodate your rig. Alternatively, head to your campsite and arrange public transportation to and from the site.
The Kodiak Area Transit System may prove helpful for navigating the township during your stay. It has many different pick-up and drop-off points, including some that may be close to your accommodation provider. Alternatively, there are taxi services for convenience across the island. You can make a call, get picked up, and leave your RV where it is at your campsite if you desire.
Because Kodiak Crab Festival is by the Kodiak Harbor, there are no areas in which to set up your RV and camp. That won’t be a problem, however, for there are a few different dry and wet camping areas across Kodiak to satisfy your needs. Don’t forget to pack a few camping essentials and keep your tanks full in case you aren’t able to access service hookups.
Even though Kodiak is only a small island, it does offer a few accommodation options. Make sure you book weeks in advance to ensure you get your first pick. Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park, under five miles from the festival, offers a few RV parks.
Just a 15-minute drive from the festival, and within walking distance of Lake Louise, is also a recreational ground. A little further afield, Buskin River State Recreation Site is also ideal for dry camping. You may like to drive from these campsites each day to attend the festival.
The beauty of the festival site is that it’s small. You can access everything you need on foot, which means that you can leave your scooters, skateboards, and bicycles back at your RV. The best part is, even if you want to venture further afield, you can navigate the immediate shops on foot as well. Guests with mobility needs will also be able to navigate the area relatively well.
There’s only one word to describe Kodiak during the Kodiak Crab Festival: cold. There will be no need for shorts and t-shirts during your stay. Instead, you’ll be packing your warmest jackets, gloves, scarves, and hats, along with warm and weatherproof footwear. Travelers may need warm clothing, but the experience will be well worth the need for a hood and coat on this island adventure.
You will want to put some thought into what you bring to Kodiak for the festival. As you will be traveling by ferry and away from city conveniences, you won’t have too many opportunities to purchase what you forget. Don’t forget to pack cooking equipment and leave the main center of Kodiak with an empty waste tank and a full water tank.
Bring plenty of cash, a light backpack for day travel, and a few helpful maps and information guides to navigate the best parts of the island. You may also want to be sure to check with ferry services if utilized to see what items will be allowed onboard.
Being away from home can mean you’re not located near all of life’s necessities. Don’t forget to pack any prescription medication you might require, a first aid kit, medical supplies, and toiletries. The more you store in your RV, the less you may have to improvise or hunt around the shops to find missing essentials.
What you can cook on, and where you cook, may depend on where you stay. Most RV accommodation providers on the Island of Kodiak allow the use of grills and onboard propane gas appliances. Some also let you make a campfire as long as you tend to it. Food supplies are usually available along Marine Way near the festival if you need to stock up on a few necessities.
If you love seafood, you’re in the right place in Alaska. Seafood suppliers are abundant on the Island of Kodiak. After all, you’re in the area for a crab festival. If you’re not a seafood fan, there are natural food stores, fast food outlets, bars, and cafes nearby to tantalize your taste buds.
Vendors at the Kodiak Crab Festival change from one year to the next. What doesn’t change is the quality. You can expect to have a hard time trying to decide what to eat for lunch. Bring cash and browse the many options. While crab is a staple, it’s only a tiny part of what the festival encompasses.
There is often a light police and security presence at the Kodiak Crab Festival. Leave any noisemakers, weapons, or potentially dangerous goods back at your RV. If you require assistance, the Kodiak Police Department is under two miles away from the festival site. Security in remote areas often means remaining alert and observing your surroundings.
The warmest temperatures in May tend to be in the mid-50s, which is not all that warm for some travelers. With this in mind, it’s crucial to wear warm clothing, crank up the RV heater, and pack plenty of blankets. You will also not want to skimp on RV maintenance such as anti-freeze fluid. Prepare yourself for cold mornings and even colder evenings on this island in the North Pacific Ocean.
If you find yourself with a pesky injury or pain during your stay, you will be pleased to know that help is close by even on the island. There is a medical center within a two-mile drive of the festival site. If you need to stock up on any medical supplies, the nearest pharmacy is also within three miles near the Kodiak Municipal Airport.