Modeled after Elko, Nevada’s popular Cowboy Poets Gathering, the Fisher Poets Gathering provides a forum in which men and women involved in the fishing and other maritime industries share their poems, stories, songs, and artwork in a convivial seaport setting.
Inaugurated in 1998, the annual late-February event draws writers and artists from up and down the Pacific coast and farther afield for readings, art shows, concerts, book signings, workshops, films, a silent auction, and other activities at pubs, galleries, theaters, and other venues around town.
Participation isn’t limited to fisherfolk but extends to anyone with a connection to maritime activity, and themes range from the rigors (and humor) of life on the water to environmental issues. Admission is by donation ($5) at the ticket booth of the Columbian Theater (11th St. and Marine Dr.).
For more details and a full schedule, check the Clatsop Community College website (www.clatsopcollege.com/fisherpoets ).
The Astoria-Warrenton Crab and Seafood Festival (Clatsop County Fairgrounds, 503/325-6311 or 800/875-6807, 4–9 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun., $5–10 adults, kids 12 and under free), held the last weekend in April, is a hugely popular event that brings in crowds from miles around. Scores of booths feature a cornucopia of seafood and other eats, regional beers and Oregon wines, and arts and crafts.
Activities include continuous entertainment, crab races, a petting zoo, and kids’ activities. A traditional crab dinner caps off the evening.
To get to the fairgrounds from Astoria , take Highway 202 for 4.5 miles to Walluski Loop Road and watch for signs. Parking is limited at the fairgrounds. Frequent shuttle service takes folks between the fairgrounds, park-and-ride lots, the Port of Astoria, and local hotels and campgrounds.
The legacy of the thousands of Scandinavians who arrived to work in area mills and canneries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is still strong in Astoria , with public steam baths, lutefisk, smorrebrod platters, and church services in Finnish.
Today, the biggest event in town is the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival (503/325-6311, www.astoriascanfest.com , $6 adults, $2 children 6–12), which usually takes place the third weekend of June, Friday through Sunday. Local Danes, Finns, Icelanders, Norwegians, and Swedes come together to celebrate their heritage.
Costumed participants dance around a flowered midsummer pole (a fertility rite), burn a bonfire to destroy evil spirits, and have tugs-of-war pitting Scandinavian nationalities against each other. Food, dancing, crafts, and a parade bring the whole town out to the Clatsop County Fairgrounds on Walluski Loop Road just off Highway 202.
A tradition since 1894, Astoria Regatta Week is considered the Pacific Northwest’s longest-running festival. Held on the waterfront  in mid-August, the five-day event kicks off with the regatta queen’s coronation and reception. Attractions include live entertainment, a grand land parade, historic home tours, ship tours and boat rides, sailboat and dragon boat races, a classic car show, a salmon barbecue, arts and crafts, food booths, a beer garden, and a twilight boat parade.
For details and a schedule, contact the Astoria Regatta Association (503/325-6311 or 800/875-6807, www.astoriaregatta.org ).