OysterFest photo by Bill Kepner
Saturday, November 3, 2012

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 3, the Chesapeake’s oyster will be celebrated at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s OysterFest. The event features live music, oysters and other food, children’s activities, boat rides, oyster demonstrations, harvesting displays, retriever demonstrations, cooking demonstrations, and an oyster stew competition among regional chefs.

The festival also offers a chance to see the skipjack ROSIE PARKS, a sailing workboat that once dredged the Chesapeake for oysters, during its historic three-year restoration at the museum. In addition to the museum’s floating fleet of historic vessels, the Talbot County Watermen’s Association (TCWA) will have several boats dockside to help share the stories of how oyster dredging, hand tonging, patent tonging, and oyster diving have been longtime traditions of the Chesapeake Bay. TCWA volunteers will also be serving freshly caught and shucked Chesapeake Bay oysters. Hatchery-raised raw oysters and fried oyster sandwiches will also be available. For those who prefer to celebrate oysters rather than eat them, pit beef, hot dogs, and hamburgers, along with cold beer, caramel apples, warm apple cider, and more will be offered.

Festival-goers can take part in or just watch an oyster slurping contest, while others enjoy sampling oyster stew by local restaurants and chefs beginning at 11 a.m. and while the limited tastings last. Local restaurants will also perform cooking demonstrations of signature oyster dishes throughout the day. This year’s event features special cooking demonstrations by Culinary Ambassador of the Chesapeake Bay and on-air personality John Shields, who will be available at the event for book signings.

CBMM’s OysterFest boasts plenty of family-friendly, educational, and fun waterfront activities designed to help kids get to know the oyster and how important the bivalve is to the Chesapeake Bay. You can explore an oyster nursery, learn how oysters clean the Bay by building your own filter, participate in a scavenger hunt or face painting, or watch dip-net making and knot-tying demonstrations. Build-a-boat activities provided by the Model Guild will be available for a $3 fee.

Dogs can even have fun, with retriever demonstrations taking place along the museum’s waterfront, and don’t miss the scenic river cruises and on-the-water oyster tonging demonstrations with Chesapeake watermen. Conservation groups including Marylanders Grow Oysters, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Oyster Recovery Partnership, and The Nature Conservancy will be on-hand to discuss efforts to clean and preserve the Bay. In addition, Philips Wharf Environmental Center’s Fishmobile will offer visitors the opportunity to see live sturgeon, diamondback terrapins, horseshoe crabs, and other Bay creatures.

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, Maryland

410-745-2916; www.cbmm.org/oysterfest.