Honoring The Saltwater Bivalve Mollusk (aka The Oyster) at The Annual Oyster Festival

By Biwen Liu

What’s a coastal oyster festival without a little water mixed in with the fun?

The 40th Annual Oyster Festival, the signature two-day event that pays homage to the saltwater bivalve in (where else?) Oyster Bay, unfolded as scheduled despite a rainy Saturday. 

Some amusements and pirate performances scheduled for Saturday had to be rescheduled, including the shucking contest, but the rain failed to extinguish the festival’s spirit. People gathered in beer tents, relishing delectable oysters, beer, and good conversation.

oyster festival

It wasn’t just about the oysters either.

“I just had the pumpkin beer; It’s really good,” said Elizabeth Martan who came out from Queens for the festival. “I’m planning to get a lobster roll later.”

Some attendees were returning to the festival after they first found their way to it last year. 

“We love the first time, the second time is as good,” said Cristhian Quintero. “I wish the weather could be a little bit better but the food is incredible. I’m having the New England-style clam chowder, add a little bit of lemon, it tastes delicious.”

The Oyster Festival featured three food courts offering more than 60 items to eat, including lobster dinners, empanadas, soft shell crab, fried shrimp, and, of course, raw oysters.

“It’s my first time working here, this festival has been going on for 40 years,” said David Mojica, who worked at the clam chowder booth Saturday. “Because of the weather, there are fewer people than I expected, tomorrow probably will do better.”

Despite the soggy weather people still enjoyed the day and for those who looked on the brighter side of the rain there was a real benefit.

“I definitely got my food faster because there’s no lines at all,” said Lily Liu. “My favorite food is what I’m having now, fried oyster with tartar sauce. It’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.”

If you missed it this year, don’t worry. The organizers have already scheduled next year’s event for October 19th and 20th.

📷  Biwen Liu

Biwen Liu is a reporter with The SBU Media Group, part of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism’s Working Newsroom program for students and local media.

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