Shucks, it’s time for the Oyster Fest!
Last Fall I took my son and his friend to the annual Oyster Bay Oyster Festival for the first time. I’d gone to the Oyster Fest about 6-8 times previously, but of those visits were through the eyes of a college kid or young professional. Let’s just say that a) it’s now a dry event and b) going with your 9 year old and his buddy is a whole different experience!
The Oyster Festival lasts an entire weekend and draws huge crowds – over 200,000 from near and far – to this lovely waterfront hamlet on the North Shore of Long Island. Billy Joel sings about Oyster Bay in his songs and has a motorcycle shop in town, but locals know all about the beauty and fun that draws visitors year-round.
Just down the street is Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, which was Teddy Roosevelt’s home away from home when he was President and where he retired to later in life. He was a conservationist and wanted to live in a place like where he grew up, surrounded by wildlife and nature. I’ve taken the kids there to visit the museum, participate in Junior Ranger scavenger hunts and to hike down to the eel creek boardwalk and beachfront overlooking Cold Spring Harbor (I know you’ve read the post on our quests to Sagamore!).
This year the Festival is Friday and Saturday October 19-20 and I’m hoping to take the kids this weekend. This year will be the 30th annual festival and so many exciting events will once again take place.
Saturday morning will begin with the Oyster Bay Town Supervisor’s 5k run; it’s on a scenic course up Berry Hill Road and down Sandy Hill Road. I’ve woken up early and run from Sagamore Hill through Main Street and up to the waterfront and back and it’s just filled with breathtaking views! It’s not too later to register:
Saturday at 2pm is one of the highlights of the event; the annual Oyster eating and shucking contest! To win you need a lot of talent, a steel stomach and have to really want it (not just for the $50 prize).
There will once again be Tall Ships in the Harbor. Brandon, his friend and I had so much fun last year climbing aboard these ships and checking out all the gears, controls and speaking with the crew. We saw some amazing sights in 2012!
From Brandon, 10: “We ate clams and oysters. They were so good because they were fresh from the water”.
The Oyster Fest has so many different things to do, food to eat, music to listen to and rides to enjoy!
There are live bands playing throughout the weekend on Audrey Avenue. I remember at least 10 years ago listening to the Smoke Daddy’s play behind a bar; a great blues band whose CD I bought that day. Antiques, arts and crafts and other businesses and vendors line the streets. There is a huge area with every kind of treat you would want to eat – oysters, clams, lobster rolls, seafood gumbo, souvlaki, funnel cake, zeppoles, cotton candy and basically everything you’ve ever wanted to pig out on in your life – but you’ve already run a 5k that morning so eat whatever you want 🙂
The carnival rides from locally-owned Newton and Sons were a major highlight for the kids. There was a ferris wheel, the Zipper and lots of other rides for all ages of little and big kids.
From Brandon: “There was this one ride where you would get strapped into the side of this big circle. It would start spinning around and around and faster and faster. Me and my friend rode it 3 times! There is also this pirate boat that goes so high. Also, there is this mirror maze where you walk inside and there would be mirrors all around and you had to find your way out. A couple of times I even ran into a mirror. At the end you slide your way out of the maze. So cool!”
There is so much more – habor cruises, a petting zoo…what more do you have to hear; make your plans for this weekend and have fun at the Fest!
The non-profit Oyster Festival benefits 27 non-profits within the school district, including the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum and the local Fire Department.
Follow this link to find routes by train, bus, and boat. If you want a parking spot, be there very early. I suggest train or car to the bus shuttles:
For more information call: 516-628-1625
- Greenport Maritime Festival (1quest2thenext.com)
- Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
- Planting Fields Arboretum
- Camping with my dad at Blydenburgh County Park