If you’re in Long Island this summer – particularly in the idyllic Gold Coast region – don’t pass up your chance to check out the area’s largest street festival. Oyster Fest is an extravaganza that can’t be missed.
What is Oyster Fest?
Every year, nearly a quarter of a million Long Island residents and tourists, both from near and afar, come to Oyster Bay to celebrate this unique part of the region’s history. This event, which is now in its 35th year, is a local favorite. It offers participants a close look at the oyster industry’s impact on the region, and also gives them new ways to appreciate that history – in an up-close and personal way.
Oysters have been part of the Oyster Bay community for hundreds of years. The sponsor of the event, Frank M. Flower & Sons, has been around since the latter part of the nineteenth century, and hosts this event as a way of giving back to the community – and of advertising the importance of oysters, of course.
What began as a hometown parade honoring Theodore Roosevelt has now evolved into the largest outdoor festival on Long Island. With countless options of things to do, see, and, of course, taste, the Oyster Festival is an event that you simply can’t skip.
What Does Oyster Fest Have to Offer?
Simply put – oysters – in just about every format you could ever hope or imagine. You can eat oysters in a chowder, eat them on the half-shell, or eat them fried. While there are other seafood dishes available, like clams and shrimp, as well as traditional festival fare like French fries and hot dogs, oysters are the star.
All of the foods for this event and served and prepared by the proud residents of Oyster Bay, most of whom are members of various civic and not-for-profit organizations. This event serves as one of the area’s largest fundraisers for these organizations as a result.
Once you’ve eaten your fill, there are plenty of other events to check out. In addition to the food promenade area, the event is also home to an arts and crafts shows, live entertainment, a 5k road race, historic boat exhibit, an oyster-eating contest (and an equally as remarkable oyster shucking contest!) and a children’s entertainment area.
Should I Check Out Oyster Fest?
Each year, over 50,000 half-shell oysters are consumed at this event – which only lasts two days. And that doesn’t count all the oysters that are eaten in other ways, either! If you’re interested in heading to this region for a visit, try to schedule it around Oyster Fest so that you can be privy to the experience of a lifetime.
Oyster Fest is usually held in the fall, with 2019’s event taking place during the weekend of October 19-20. It’s open to the public and you don’t have to buy tickets, but it’s recommended that you book a hotel room and any transportation you will need relatively far in advance, as spots tend to fill up fast.
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