MOREHEAD CITY | If it swims in the salt water, crawls across the sea floor or just lives in the mud only to be seen when the tide goes out, chances are you may find it on a plate this weekend at the 30th annual North Carolina Seafood Festival.

The festival begins Friday at noon and runs through Sunday evening at the Morehead City waterfront. Tens of thousands of people routinely attend the festival used to promote the commercial fishing industry in North Carolina and raise money for local Carteret County charities at the same time. Since 1987, $1.8 million has been donated to various Carteret County nonprofit groups.

Seafood restaurants from across the area will have demonstrations Saturday and Sunday at the corner of 4th and Evans Street at the Cooking With the Chefs Tent.

Free entertainment will include the Chairmen of the Board, Six Pack of Gentlemen, Bryan Mayer, Tobacco Roses and many other groups.

There is no admission to the festival grounds. Parking is free at the nearby State Port at 113 Arendell St. in Morehead City with free shuttle buses available from 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Those attending should not park on side streets near the festival as vehicles may be towed. Handicap parking is available on the north side of Arendell Street between 7th and 8th Street, and on the south side of Arendell between 8th and 9th Street, as well as Front Street Village, where there is a shuttle to bring visitors to the venue.

Visitors are asked to leave their pets at home. Also prohibited are skateboards, bikes, scooters, rollerblades, motorcycles or motor bikes, and pets are prohibited inside the festival area.

For more information or to purchase concert tickets, go to ncseafoodfestival.org.