Get ready to celebrate the Bay’s favorite bivalve at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s OysterFest on Saturday, Oct. 29.
Running 10 am-4 pm, 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.
As part of CBMM’s partnership with The Great Maryland Recipe Hunt, food historian Joyce White will offer a culinary history of Chesapeake Bay oysters, beginning at 1:30pm. The foodways documentation project, One Hundred Shores, and the Bivalve Trail programming are presented by the Regional Folklife Center through the Maryland Traditions Program of the Maryland State Arts Council.
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.
They’re 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.
This year, OysterFest is generously sponsored by Glenmede and Patriot Cruises and supported by What’s Up Media, Eastern Shore Tents & Events, Windon Distilling, George’s Beverage Company, and Kelly Distributors.
OysterFest admission is $6 for CBMM member adults and active members of the military (with ID); $18 for non-member adults; $15 for seniors (age 65 and up), college students and retired military (both with ID); $6 for non-member children ages 6–17; and free for member children 6–17, and all children 5 and under. CBMM members at the Family & Friends level and above can also receive the $6 discounted admission for two adult guests.
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.
Purchase your tickets in advance now and learn more at cbmm.org/oysterfest.