ST. MICHAELS — Get ready to celebrate the Bay’s favorite bivalve at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s OysterFest, taking place on Saturday, Oct. 30, in St. Michaels.
CBMM’s OysterFest features oysters served a variety of ways, along with other local fare, craft beer and spirits; live music on two stages; scenic river cruises aboard 1920 buyboat Winnie Estelle; cooking demonstrations; Chesapeake Bay retriever and oystering demonstrations; children’s activities, and more.
Festivalgoers can savor Chesapeake Bay wild and aquaculture oysters served steamed or raw, plus oyster fritters and oyster stew, along with a variety of other Chesapeake delicacies and other offerings. Windon Distilling Company will serve a specialty Lyon Rum cocktail, with other drink options including oyster shooters and Chesapeake-style Bloody Marys, featuring George’s Bloody Mary mix.
A new feature at this year’s festival will be an oyster stew crawl being held in place of the popular stew competition. Beginning at 11 a.m., participants will be given a punch card and invited to work their way around campus sampling stews from a variety of local restaurants and vendors.
Those who sample each stew will then be able to vote for their favorite one. The People’s Choice award will be announced Saturday afternoon once votes are tallied. Participation is limited to 500 people on a first-come, first-served basis, with a commemorative OysterFest mug and the tastings offered for $10.
Family activities include Chesapeake-themed games, activities and demonstrations, and a chance to build a take-home model boat. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Relief and Rescue club will also present retriever demonstrations on CBMM’s Navy Point.
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 explore one of the visiting Chesapeake Bay buyboats and vessels or watch a historic diving demonstration.
Tours of Maryland Dove will be offered throughout the day, where CBMM shipwrights will give updates on their construction of the new tall ship, a representation of the vessel that accompanied the first European settlers to Maryland in 1634.
OysterFest is sponsored by Patriot Cruises, What’s Up Media, Eastern Shore Tents & Events, Bay Imprint and Kelly Distributors.
OysterFest admission is $5 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 also receive the $5 discounted admission for two adult guests. Food, drinks and boat rides are an additional cost, with carry-on alcohol prohibited.
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, with advanced tickets and more information at cbmm.org.