“R” You Going to the Oyster Festival?
Quote for Today: The first man gets the oyster, the second man gets the shell. Andrew Carnegie
Historically, September 1st is the first day of Oyster Season. Oyster lovers have all heard you should not eat oysters in months without the letter “R”. This rule of thumb came about in the 1700’s for health and conservation reasons. Oysters tend to spawn during the warm Summer months when the temperature of the ocean’s rise and they do not want to be disturbed. Also, shipping oysters inland on a horse and buggy in the sweltering heat was not good either. Those who consumed these oysters spent much more time in the smaller building than in the main house. Thankfully, oyster farming and refrigeration have allowed us to break the “R” rule. Regardless, September 1st is still a great reason to get out and eat Bivalve Molluscs.
These are a few Oyster Festivals we think you would enjoy.
1) Norwalk Oyster Festival – Norwalk, Connecticut: September 6-8, 2013
Since the first festival in 1978 where they drew a crowd of over 10,000, this has been one of the most popular oyster events in the Northeast. Celebrating the history of the oyster industry in Norwalk, this festival has everything. Ferry rides around the harbor for $5, musical performances on two stages featuring Max Creek and the Village People (remember YMCA), fifty live Pirates, lots of children activities, a BMX Acrobatic Show, an international food court that is a seafood lovers dream and of course lots of oysters.
2) Chinconteague Island Oyster Festival – Chinconteague, Virginia: October 12, 2013
Located approximately 100 miles from Virginia Beach, this small island town is charming. As J.O. Wintzell once said, “We serve our oysters fried, stewed and nude.” They also have Clam Chowder and Fritters, Steamed Crabs, French fries, Hot Dogs and Hushpuppies. Tickets sell out fast and at $40/head they are not cheap. The admission price does include the four words I love to hear – All you can eat! If you are not too full, head to the nearest grocery store on the way home and purchase a can of soup from the Chinconteague Seafood Company. They have fourteen different flavors from Crab and Cheddar Soup to Vegetable Red Crab Soup and yes, Oyster Stew.
Oyster Bay Festival
3) Oyster Bay Seafood Festival – Oyster Bay, New York: October 19-20, 2013
This festival originated as a home town parade honoring Theodore Roosevelt. Today, it is the East Coasts largest waterfront festival, drawing more than 200,000 people annually. This fest has all the entertainment, artists, tall ships, rides, and lots of delicious oysters. The big difference is the food court. As of now, they have thirty-eight vendors offering more than I care to list. The neat thing is that each booth is unique in that no food items are repeated. By the way, admission is FREE.
There are lots of oyster festivals out there even in the months with no “R, These three just scratch the surface. The Low Country Oyster Festival just outside of Charleston happens to be the largest. Next year on January 26th two tractor tailors are bringing in 80,000 pounds of oysters to the beautiful Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Believe it or not, this is for a 6 1/2 hour festival. But as someone else said before me, “that’s another story.”
For all the Oyster Fests that we did not include, please add your event to our website Calendar for our readers to view. We will also share them on social media to let others know about your festival.
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