Feast at Fall Oyster and Seafood Festivals
With fall in full swing, so is oyster festival season in the Tar Heel State. Though each oyster-oriented festival has its own character, they all typically offer music, contests involving oysters, food and beverage vendors, and lots of oysters for sale in various forms. Steaming buckets of the tasty bivalves are the most typical festival fare, but the oyster is often celebrated raw, fried and in rich stews, as well.
North Carolina Oyster Festival
Considered the mollusk mother lode, with more than 30,000 fans of the almighty oyster typically in attendance, the North Carolina Oyster Festival on Ocean Isle Beach has something for everyone. Celebrating 38 years of bivalve heaven, this mid-October festival (Oct. 20-21, 2018) includes the North Carolina Oyster Shucking Championships (an official route to the national tournament), an oyster stew cook-off, live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, a bustling kids' area, many varied food and beverage booths, shag competition, and – of course – lots of freshly steamed oysters for sale.
There are several other oyster festivals in our state, with the possibilities including:
- The First Flight Rotary Oink and Oyster Roast: Oct. 6, 2018, in Kitty Hawk
- The Airlie Gardens Oyster Roast: Oct. 19, 2018, in Wilmington
- The Burke Arts Council Oyster and Shrimp Festival: Oct. 20, 2018, in Morganton
- Sound Rivers 33rd Annual Oyster Roast: Nov. 10, 2018, in Washington
Though these options may not boast the sheer size of the North Carolina Oyster Festival, the oysters will most assuredly taste just as good raw, steamed, fried or however you like your ode to oysters.
Though not specifically oysters, seafood is also the star at these festivals:
- Day at the Docks: Sept. 14-15, 2018, in Hatteras
- Outer Banks Seafood Festival: Oct. 20, 2018, in Nags Head
- Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival: April 13-14, 2019 (originally Oct. 13-14, 2018), in Kure Beach
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.
The 32nd annual North Carolina Seafood Festival, originally scheduled for Oct. 5-7, 2018, has been canceled this year due to damage the area sustained from Hurricane Florence.