OysterFest

Selected date

Saturday October 27

Selected time

10:00 AM  –  5:00 PM

OysterFest, a celebration of the Chesapeake’s favorite bivalve, will return to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018.

Special to this year’s festival will be the relaunch of the 1889 bugeye Edna E. Lockwood, with her nine-log hull being restored in full public view by CBMM shipwrights and apprentices over the last two years. Edna Lockwood is the queen of CBMM’s floating fleet of historic boats and a National Historic Landmark.

The event features live music, an oyster stew competition, boat rides, retriever demonstrations, oysters and other local fare, and cooking demonstrations, along with children’s activities, oystering demonstrations, harvesting displays, and more.

In addition to CBMM’s floating fleet of historic vessels, several commercial watermen and their boats will be dockside to share the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster dredging and hand tonging traditions. Limited boat rides with Chesapeake watermen with oyster tonging demonstrations will also be offered.

Local watermen will serve freshly caught and shucked Chesapeake Bay wild oysters, served steamed or raw on the half shell. For those who celebrate oysters rather than eat them, regional food and beverages will also be offered.

Local restaurants will perform cooking demonstrations of signature oyster dishes throughout the day, with oyster slurping contests offered each hour from 1 to 3 pm. Beginning at 11 am along CBMM’s Fogg’s Cove, festival-goers can vote for their favorite oyster stew in a competition among local restaurants and chefs. Participation is limited to the first 500 on a first-come, first-served basis, with a commemorative OysterFest mug and the tastings offered for $10. The blind taste test awards bragging rights to the chef with the most votes, with the People’s Choice winner announced at the festival and later to the public.

Family activities are in abundance at the event, with river cruises aboard Winnie Estelle; Chesapeake-themed games, activities, and demonstrations; a scavenger hunt; face painting; and more. Children can build a take-home model boat for $3. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Relief and Rescue club will also present retriever demonstrations on CBMM’s Navy Point.

Festival-goers can explore CBMM’s exhibitions, including Oystering on the Chesapeake and Waterman’s Wharf, where guests can try tonging or nippering for oysters. Displayed dockside will be several boats historically used in the oystering industry, including Edna Lockwood, the 1955 skipjack Rosie Parks, and 1920 buyboat Winnie Estelle.

OysterFest is partially funded by the Maryland State Arts Council.

Food, drinks, and boat rides are an additional cost, with carry-on alcohol prohibited. Credit/debit cards (VISA/MC/Discover) will be accepted at the door for admission, with festival-goers encouraged to bring cash for use inside the gates. Please note: CBMM now has an ATM, located in the Museum Store. 

For safety reasons, non-service dogs need to be kept home during CBMM festivals, with leashed dogs permitted during regular operating hours. Proceeds from the event support CBMM’s education, restoration, and exhibition programs. 

Member discounts will be applied automatically at checkout. 

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