Get ready to celebrate the Bay’s favorite bivalve at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s OysterFest on Saturday, Oct. 29.
Running 10am-4pm, CBMM’s OysterFest features oysters served a variety of ways, along with other local fare, craft beer, and spirits, plus live music, an oyster stew competition, a full schedule of oyster-themed demonstrations and presentations, children’s activities, and more.
At the rain or shine event, festivalgoers can savor Chesapeake Bay oysters, with both raw and cooked options available, from the Talbot Watermen Association and other local oyster farms. There will also be a variety of Chesapeake delicacies and other food offerings via local vendors available for purchase, plus a beverage selection that includes specialty cocktails featuring Windon Distilling Lyon Rum, Chesapeake-style Bloody Marys featuring George’s Beverage Company mix, and an array of local craft beer options.
The always-popular oyster stew competition begins at 11am and invites guests to sample offerings from various local restaurants and vote for their favorite, while the American Chesapeake Club will be on hand to discuss Maryland’s official dog, the Chesapeake Bay retriever, and showcase its retrieving ability.
One Hundred Shores project is offering a unique workshop that allows guests to connect with the Bay’s water from 100 different locations across the Chesapeake estuary in a dyeing process to create shirts which illustrate a map of the watershed itself. Registration is available now at bit.ly/OysterFestOneHundredShores.
In its fourth OysterFest appearance, Maryland-based Swamp Donkey Newgrass will be playing the Tolchester Beach Bandstand all day long, delivering an exciting combination of original songs and unique covers that span many genres in a style they have made all their own.
Throughout the day, Van Lennep Auditorium will host a variety of guest speakers and oyster-related presentations sponsored by the Upper Shore Regional Folklife Center, starting at 11am with a cooking demonstration from Executive Chef Gregory James from Stars Restaurant at the Inn at Perry Cabin.
At 12:45pm, Bivalve Trail podcast host Lexi Hubb will offer a presentation on Thomas Downing, a Black American born free on Virginia’s Eastern Shore who helped make New York City the Oyster Capital of the world in the mid-1800s. Later, Hubb and co-host Bill Troxler will describe how they created the narrative, music and soundscape for Downing’s story, illustrating time periods, settings, and emotions without visual cues.
Family activities include Chesapeake-themed games, activities, and demonstrations, and a chance to build a take-home model boat.
Guests will also be able to explore CBMM’s exhibitions, including Oystering on the Chesapeake and Waterman’s Wharf, where they can try tonging or nippering for oysters.
Guests are also invited to participate in an oyster slurp-off contest, tour one of the visiting Chesapeake Bay buyboats and vessels within CBMM’s historic Floating Fleet, watch an antique diving demonstration, and visit the Phillips Wharf Fishmobile.
Food and drinks are available for an additional cost, with carry-on alcohol prohibited. Proceeds from the event support CBMM’s education, restoration, and exhibition programs.
For safety reasons, non-service dogs need to be kept home during CBMM festivals, including OysterFest. Carry-on alcohol from dock or land is prohibited.