Half-Shell Happenings: Oyster Festivals

Fall is the kick-off to oyster season around the Chesapeake Bay. Get your slurp on at these deliciously fun oyster festivals!

With the resurgence of oysters in the Bay over the last several years, and the growing popularity in oyster farming and local varieties of oysters to slurp, it’s no wonder the oyster festival scene is hot this year. The best news is that even if you’re not an oyster aficionado, you can still have a blast at these festivals, which are packed with fun for the whole family, include plenty of other fresh seafood options and local brews.

Brews and Bivalves
Oct. 6
Jailbreak Brewing Company and the Oyster Recovery Partnership have joined to celebrate fresh oysters, local watermen and craft brews. Meet watermen who will shuck as you order and tell tales of their time on the water. There will also be the Jailbreak Biergarten, live music and cooked oysters. Jailbreak Brewing Company, Laurel. Noon–6 p.m. oysterrecovery.org

Oyster Stroll
Oct. 13
Oysters, music and fun for the whole family, all to “raise awareness about the importance of oyster aquaculture in the Chesapeake Bay.” You’ll have a chance to meet oyster farmers, and sample different flavors of oysters from throughout the region. $5; 21 and over only. Downtown Westminster, Noon–5 p.m. oysterstrollmd.com

Ryleigh’s OysterFest
Oct. 13–14
Slurp and sip delicious fresh oysters, crabcakes, pit beef beside local brews at this annual festival. General admission free; VIP tickets $12–$100. Federal Hill, Baltimore. Tickets at eventbrite.com

St. Mary's County Oyster Festival
Oct. 20–21
This festival hosts the National Oyster Shucking Contest and Oyster Cook-off. Get in early on Saturday to watch the chefs go head-to-head in the cook-off and make sure to get a seat to watch champion shuckers at their best (preliminary and amateur heats Saturday, championships Sunday). There’s also plenty of entertainment for families, including food, arts and crafts, bands, magicians and more. Cost is $10, children under 12 free. Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.–6 p.m. St. Mary's County Fairgrounds, Leonardtown. usoysterfest.com

Captain Avery Museum Oyster Festival
Oct. 21
Head to the banks of the West River, where you can treat the family with oyster specialties and other seafood favorites, music, crafters, authors, and children's activities. Fun for the kids includes live crab races, a touch tank, pirate mask making and other crafts. Cost is $6; $2 for ages 12 and under. 12:30–5 p.m. Captain Avery House, Shady Side. captainaverymuseum.org

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s OysterFest
Oct. 27
Oysters every which way, boat rides, retriever demonstrations, live music, craft beers and cooking demonstrations. Children can play Chesapeake-themed games, enjoy activities, and demonstrations, a scavenger hunt, face painting, and a chance to build a take-home model boat for $3.
Cost is $18 for adults, $6 for children 6–18 and free for children 5 and younger. Hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. cbmm.org


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