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Saturday, October 31, 2015

10 am- 4 pm

$18 for adults
$15 for seniors
$6 for children between the ages of six and 17.
Children five years and under and CBMM members are admitted free. Food and boat rides are an additional cost. Please leave pets at home, as they are not permitted on Museum ground during festivals.
For more information, call 410-745-2916.

On Saturday, October 31, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum will host OysterFest, a celebration of the Chesapeake’s favorite bivalve. The event features live music on two stages, 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 the spirit of Halloween, CBMM will be holding a costume contest during the festival. In addition to the best adult and children costume, a special award will be given for the best Chesapeake-themed costume. Trick-or-treating opportunities for costumed children will also be available at many locations throughout the museum’s campus.

This year, Mule Train will be performing live from the Tolchester Beach Bandstand, delivering an Americana performance of contemporary covers and roots-rock originals. Performing on a second stage along the museum’s Fogg’s Cove will be the melodic Kent Island-based trio, Key Lime Pie, performing “barefoot-guitar” pop.

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

Local watermen will serve freshly caught and shucked Chesapeake Bay wild oysters, served steamed or raw on the half shell. Aquaculture raw oysters, oyster fritters, and fried oyster sandwiches will also be available. For those who prefer to celebrate oysters rather than eat them, pit beef, hot dogs, hamburgers, and other seafood selections, along with cold beer, warm apple cider, and more will be offered. Back by popular demand is Fordham Brewing Company’s Rosie Parks Oyster Stout, made in honor of the 1955 skipjack Rosie Parks.

Local restaurants will perform cooking demonstrations of signature oyster dishes throughout the day, and an oyster slurping contest will be offered each hour from 1-3 pm. with a prize for the winner. Beginning at 11 a.m. along the museum’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 1 p.m. and later to the public.

  • 11 AM – Town Dock Restaurant – Chef Jason Huls-Millerner & owner Jon Mason
  • 12 Noon – Jimmie & Sook’s Raw Bar & Grill, Cambridge – Chef Mallory Parker
  • 1:00 PM – Bartlett Pear Inn Restaurant- Owner & Chef Jordan Lloyd
  • 2:00 PM – Mike & Eric’s Front Street Restaurant & Bar – Owner Mike Whittington & Chef
  • 3:00 PM – Robert Morris Inn & Salter’s Tavern – Owner & Chef Mark Salter

Throughout the event, families can take a river cruise aboard Winnie Estelle, play an oversized oyster puzzle game, explore an oyster nursery, watch net-making and knot-tying demonstrations, or participate in a scavenger hunt or face painting. Children can also build their own take-home boat for a $3 fee. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Relief and Rescue club will also present retriever demonstrations on CBMM’s Navy Point.

Tilghman Islanders Grow Oysters, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Oyster Recovery Partnership, and other conservation organizations will be on-hand to discuss efforts to clean and preserve the Chesapeake Bay. Phillips Wharf Environmental Center’s Fishmobile will offer the opportunity to see live sturgeon, diamondback terrapins, horseshoe crabs, and other native creatures.

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 CBMM’s 1889 log-bottomed bugeye and registered National Historic Landmark Edna E. Lockwood, the 1955 skipjack Rosie Parks, and the 1920 buy boat Winnie Estelle, among other Chesapeake Bay buyboats visiting for the festival.

Admission to OysterFest is free for CBMM members and children ages five and under; otherwise it’s $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $6 for children between the ages of six and 17. Food and boat rides are an additional cost. For safety reasons, festival-goer’s dogs need to be kept home during museum festivals, as leashed dogs are now only permitted on campus during regular operating hours. Proceeds from the event support the non-profit museum’s education, restoration, and exhibition programs. For more information about OysterFest, visit or call 410-745-2916.

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