Back in the day, Pismo Beach was called the “Clam Capital of the World.” There’s even a type of clam named after the town, called the Pismo. Many residents in the 40’s and 50’s were filled with enthusiasm and excitement about the abundance of clams found in Pismo Beach, and created its most famous festival – the Pismo Beach Clam Festival – in 1946.
Now, exactly 72 years later, many of the clams are gone due to sea otters and overzealous hunters. But the Pismo Beach community keeps its roots and celebrates the festival every year. New traditions have been added, but there’s always been a parade, great food, and a fun celebration! Read on below to learn about the activities that have been enjoyed throughout the history of the annual Clam Festival and what’s new this year in Pismo Beach. Don’t miss a thing at this year’s festival, happening Friday, October 19th through Sunday, October 21st.
New This Year: The Grand Reopening of the Pismo Pier
Since March 2017, the famous Pismo Beach Pier has been closed for an $8.7 million reconstruction project to improve the safety and stability of the aging structure that was originally built in 1928. This weekend’s Clam Festival doubles as the grand reopening party for this iconic pier, which is the 18th longest pier in California. Follow the parade at 10 AM on Saturday morning for the very special ribbon cutting ceremony and Pierfest celebration featuring live music, wine & beer, food, and more. Come join us in celebrating the success of this massive project, which miraculously came in under budget and earlier than expected!
Traditions: The Clam Dig & The Clam Chowder Contest
A clam dig has been part of the festival for years, and is one of the more traditional parts of the agenda this year, taking place on Sunday at 11 AM. Kids 11 and under can participate and dig for clams near the Pismo Pier in order to win prizes. Following the clam dig is another traditional event, the Best Local Clam Chowder Contest at noon. Local Pismo Beach restaurants will compete for the title of Best Local Clam Chowder Winner, and the best part… you get to be the judge!
New Favorite: The Wine Walk
When the festival began in 1946, the Central Coast wasn’t exactly a wine region. But now, we have amazing wineries that produce fantastic wines in this coastal region, and wine tourism is a vital part of our town and culture. The Wine Walk is a returning event that celebrates our city’s developing wine culture. It takes place from 5-7:30 on Friday. Pick up a wine glass, stroll down downtown Pismo Beach, sample wine and food from vendors, and enjoy the Classic California charm.
We hope you’re excited about the Clam Festival! For more information about the festival, don’t hesitate to browse their official website! You can find the entire itinerary and information on who to contact with questions.