Shuckin’ for a Cause

Oysters are drenched in a rich history. From providing life during the Great Depression to the cause of death during the Oyster Wars of the mid-late 1800s, oysters have represented a broad spectrum of life as well as stood as a symbol of passion. Most importantly, oysters represent a way of life, a life known no better than in and around the Chesapeake Bay. As local venues gear up for a number of annual festivals to celebrate the life of oysters, many do so in an effort to preserve the treasured lifestyle. This year, a few festivals are benefitting the Oyster Recovery Partnership, an organization dedicated to rehabilitating and rebuilding oyster habitats in the Chesapeake Bay. Through ORP’s partnerships with scientists, conservationists, watermen, businesses, government, as well as state and local partners, nearly 4 billion oysters have been planted on 1,500 acres of oyster reefs and approximately 1,200 tons of shell have been recycled to provide homes for new oysters. Get Shuckin’ for a cause and celebrate oysters this season.

Oct. 12 &13
This annual festival brings thousands of locals and visitors together in Baltimore’s historic Federal Hill for a two-day celebration at Ryleigh’s Oyster. The festivities begin Saturday at noon with a block party featuring live music and the annual Shucking Championship at 5 p.m. Picking back up Sunday at 4 p.m. following the Raven’s football game, theday features more live music and plenty of oysters. Activities on both days run until 9 p.m. Admission is free. Ryleigh’s Oysters; 36 E. Cross St., Federal Hill, Baltimore, Md.

Oct. 18 – 5 p.m.
The five-acre Fountain Plaza at City Center at Oyster Point is the picturesque setting for this festival of seafood and oyster tasting, featuring Chesapeake Bay seafood. Crafts and an “Oyster Shell” scavenger hunt for children make this festival a fun family affair. Live musical entertainment will be featured with food and beverages for sale. Free admission and parking. Oyster Point City Center; 701 Town Center Dr., Newport News, Va.

Oct. 19 & 20
The annual St. Mary’s Oyster Festival promises to be two days of family fun. The fest includes a National Oyster Shucking Contest as well as the National Oyster Cook-Off. Winners go on to represent the U.S. internationally. Oysters will be served raw, scalded, grilled, on bread, on the half shell, stewed, nude, cooked in savory sauces, in salads, and even in desserts. Other local fare will be available as well as beer and wine. Music, entertainment, exhibits, carnival rides and crafts also included. Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Proceeds go to local charities. Admission $5. 42455 Fairgrounds Rd., Leonardtown, Md.

8Oct. 26 – 2 to 6 p.m.
Expert shuckers will be serving up the freshest raw, grilled and fried oysters in 12 different varieties from local Chesapeake, Northeast, and West Coast regions at Tony & Joe’s in Washington Harbour. Other specialties will be dished up as well as beer and wine pairings. A surf band will
provide live entertainment. The event will host
a special silent auction benefitting the Oyster
Recovery Partnership. $75 for tickets Tony &
Joe’s Seafood Place 3000 K St., NW

Nov. 2 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
OysterFest at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime
Museum features live music by Sweet Leda, local
fare, children’s activities, boat rides, oyster
demonstrations, harvesting displays, retriever
demonstrations, cooking demonstrations, documentary
films, and an oyster stew competition
among regional chefs. Conservation groups
including Tilghman Islanders 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. Admission is free for CBMM
members and children five & under, otherwise
it’s $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $6 for
children between the ages of six and 17. 213 N.
Talbot St., St. Michaels, Md.

Nov. 1 & 2
Home of Virginia’s official Oyster Festival, the
quaint town of Urbanna, just up the Rappahannock
River, dedicates an entire weekend to all
things oysters. The two-day festival includes;
a shucking contest, wine tasting, parade, multiple
live bands, and more than 50 food vendors
with oysters served raw, roasted, fried, smoked,
steamed, in fritters and in a stew. Crafts andfamily friendly activities featured. Festivities begin
Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and continue Saturday,
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
45 Cross St., Urbanna, Va.

Nov. 22 & 23
The 19th Annual Oyster Riot is a huge party
held the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving.
Each night, nearly 1,000 people devour tens
of thousands of oysters while enjoying the gold
medal winners of the International Wines for
Oysters Competition.

The Saturday afternoon Matinee Riot returns for
its 4th year from Noon to 3 p.m. A portion of the
proceeds will benefit the Oyster Recovery Partnership.
Oyster shells are sorted and transferred
to the Partnership. About 75 bushels of shells
were collected for ORP last year. Once aged, the
shells will end be planted with one million baby
oysters. Limited number of tickets. Friday and
Saturday 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Tickets $140
Old Ebbitt Grill, 675 15th Street, NW

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