Back to the basics at signature Washington waterfront event

Published 7:12 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pickin’ on the Pamlico is getting back to the basics.

Washington Harbor District Alliance’s annual event is slated for Saturday evening at Festival Park in downtown Washington.

“We’re bringing it back to basics, and it’s really just about good food, friends and family and a good time,” said John Butler, WHDA’s chief operating officer. “We don’t want to try to cram too much into it.”

The festivities begin at 6 p.m., food at 6:30 p.m. and the evening’s entertainment — the Main Event band — will begin serenading the crowd of blue crab pickers at 7 p.m.

The decade-old event has drawn people from near and far to partake of bounty from the local waterways, watch the sunset on the Pamlico and dance the night away. While Pickin’ on the Pamlico has remained one of Washington’s signature events, Butler said there’s always room to improve.

He said WHDA is responding this year to feedback from previous years by harkening back to earlier Pickin’ on the Pamlico days and keeping Saturday’s event simple, where those dining on crab, shrimp and all the fixins’ can enjoy themselves without interruption.

“We’re set up for a more relaxing time,” Butler said.

There also will be seating for all ticket holders, in addition to stand-up, barrel-style tables, according to Butler.

“We’re doing a chair and a seat at a table for everybody,” Butler said. “If half the crowd decides they don’t want to sit in those chairs, that’s their prerogative. … This year, everyone at the tables will be able to see the stage and the water.”

Proceeds from Pickin’ on the Pamlico are used to fund WHDA’s mission: to facilitate renewal, restoration, rebuilding and revitalization of Washington’s downtown business district, as well as host events that bring visitors downtown, such as the Farmers & Artisans Market held every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the corner of Bonner and Water streets.

Tickets for Pickin’ on the Pamlico can be purchased online at or by calling 252-947-1487. The $60-per-person tickets are all inclusive, including beer and wine.