Fall Color l Fall Fishing
North Carolina's Odes to Oysters
Fall means oysters in North Carolina and there are several festivals that serve as stand-alone odes to oysters—or North Carolina seafood in general. Folks in North Carolina love their oysters and festivals, so perhaps that’s why there are so many fun and tasty possibilities every fall—and throughout the year.
With more than 30,000 fans of the mighty mollusk typically in attendance, the NC Oyster Festival on Ocean Isle Beach has something for everyone. Hosted by the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce and celebrating its 31st year in 2011 (October 15th and 16th), this festival includes the North Carolina Oyster Shucking Championships (an official route to the national tourney), an oyster stew cook-off, live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, a bustling kid’s area, lots of varied food and beverage booths, a road race, a tennis tourney, a surf contest, the NC Oyster Festival Pageant, and—of course—lots of freshly-steamed oysters for sale!
There are several other oyster festivals in the state, with the possibilities including: the First Flight Rotary Oink & Oyster Roast (Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, October 8, 2011); the Dixon Chapel Oyster Roast (Varnumtown, North Carolina, November 6, 2011); the Burke Arts Council October Oyster Outing (Morganton, North Carolina, October 29, 2011); the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation Annual Oyster Roast (Washington, North Carolina, November 12, 2011); the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner—with all-you-can-eat oysters for museum volunteers that’s also open to the public—at Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center (Harkers Island, North Carolina, January 28, 2012); the 26th Annual Stumpy Point Oyster Festival at Bayview Chapel (Stumpy Point, North Carolina, February 11, 2012); and the Washington County Historical Society’s Oyster Roast (Bertie County, North Carolina, March 2, 2012). Though these options may not boast the sheer size of the NC Oyster Festival, the oysters will most assuredly taste just as good raw, steamed, fried, or however you like your ode to oysters.
Of course, the abundance of seafood in the Carolinas leads to festivals celebrating more than just oysters. For instance, there’s the huge North Carolina Seafood Festival (Morehead City, North Carolina, September 30-October 2, 2011), which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year (including the arrival of SeaFair, the country’s fourth largest mega yacht and floating art gallery) and also the 18th Annual Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival (Kure Beach, North Carolina, October 8, 2011). This fall’s Day at the Docks in Hatteras was cancelled due to Hurricane Irene, but it will surely return next year for competitions, demonstrations, children’s activities, and lots of seafood.
Foodies who see beyond strictly seafood will want to take a bigger bite out of North Carolina with peach parties, watermelon festivals, sweet potato soirees, pig pickings, catfish fries, and many more tasty possibilities in all four seasons.
By Lynn & Cele Seldon
By Lynn & Cele Seldon
added: September 14, 2011
updated: October 7, 2011