California Festivals


PISMO BEACH Clam Festival

October 19-20, 2019

Pismo Beach Beach and Downtown
Call: (805) 773-4382 |

Expected events

  • Surf Contest 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Free
  • Parade 10 a.m. Free
  • Best Local Clam Chowder 12 Noon - 2 p.m. $10 sampling approx.
  • Live music 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Free  -- bands 

Factoid: Pismo Beach is home to the largest Pismo clam recorded in California, 7.37-inches across and 26 years old approx.

Festival: Pismo Beach is tasty destination as beaches go. For seven decades the Central Coast city has celebrated clams with a festival at the beach, featuring a clam dig contest, clam chowder cook-off and beautiful ocean setting.

Pismo Beach annual Clam Festival (founded in 1946) is a three day event which includes Wine Walk, parade, clam chowder cook-off, clam digging, food, entertainment, vendors, fun for the entire family!

If you can't attend the event you can still taste the best clam chowder on the coast at Splash Cafe in Pismo Beach.

Clamming: Sports fishermen harvest  Pismo clams using six-tined potato forks. The digger works backward in a line parallel to the edge of the water probing with the fork, increasing the success rate with the broad side of the clam presented to the fork. Working parallel to the water is also a good safety practice.

Advice:  Pismo clams have been linked to several human fatalities involving Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). Therefore, it is advised that only the white meat be consumed and all dark meat and digestive organs be discarded.

To prevent  massive depletion recreational clamming is  regulated by a 10 per day bag limit and a minimum size of 4.5 inches  south of San Luis Obispo-Monterey County Line and 5 inches north of it. (

The name: Pismo is a Chumash word meaning tar. The Pismo clam, Tivela stultorum, once thrived in California's Pismo Beach area where natural deposits of tar occur.

Historically the epicenter of recreational clamming was Pismo Beach. Over a 75 day period in 1949 more than 2 million clams were caught on a stretch of beach that had just been reopened to digging after being closed for 20 years. An estimated 5,000 diggers per day came, leaving behind around one million undersized clams stranded on the surface and wasted.

Pismo clams mature after their  second winter in central and northern California. Spawning usually begins in late July or early August and continues through November.

Fun in Pismo Beach:  Marching Bands in Pismo Beach, then Tournament of Roses Bandfest in Pasadena | | Pismo Beach Pier a Fun Stroll on Central Coast | | Pismo Beach Pier Tree Lighting and Celebration | | Pismo Clam Chowder Weekend

Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.

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