Save the Date: Saturday, October 28, 2017
10 am- 4 pm, RAIN OR SHINE!
$5 CBMM adult Members (and adult guests of Family & Friends members & above)
$18 for adults
$15 for seniors (62+)
$6 for children between the ages of six and 17
Member children & children ages five and under free
2016 Oyster Stew Winners ANNOUNCED
Information from OysterFest 2016, and check back with us on this page for updates for the 2017 event.
On Saturday, October 29, 2016, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum hosted OysterFest, a celebration of the Chesapeake’s favorite bivalve. The event featured 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.
Generous sponsors to the event include Pepsi Bottling Ventures, Kelly Distributors, Easton Eye Care, George’s Bloody Mary Mix, Fordham & Dominion Brewing Company, Hair O’ The Dog Wine & Spirits, Chesapeake Landing Restaurant, and Lyon Distilling Co.
Swamp Donkey Newgrass — a high energy newgrass band with a twist of rock — returned to OysterFest, playing live from the Tolchester Beach Bandstand. Performing on a second stage along CBMM’s Fogg’s Cove from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. was the Kent Island-based trio, The Freewheelers, with their breezy, melodic vibe.
In addition to the museum’s floating fleet of historic vessels, several commercial watermen and their boats were 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 served 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 were available. For those who celebrate oysters rather than eat them, pit beef, hot dogs, hamburgers, and other seafood selections, along with cold beer, warm apple cider, and more were offered. Fordham Brewing Company’s Rosie Parks Oyster Stout—made in honor of the museum’s 1955 skipjack Rosie Parks—was served along with Budweiser and other craft beers.
Local restaurants performed cooking demonstrations of signature oyster dishes throughout the day, with oyster slurping contests offered during the event, with bragging rights and a prize for the winner. Beginning at 11 a.m. along the museum’s Fogg’s Cove, festival-goers voted for their favorite oyster stew in a competition among local restaurants and chefs. Participation was 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. Oyster stew competition sponsors include Hair O’ The Dog Wine & Spirits, and Chesapeake Landing Seafood Restaurant.
Family activities are in abundance at the event, with river cruises aboard Winnie Estelle, an oversized oyster puzzle game, an oyster nursery, and net-making and knot-tying demonstrations, a scavenger hunt, and face painting. Children could build a take-home model boat for a $3 fee. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Relief and Rescue club presented retriever demonstrations on CBMM’s Navy Point, a favorite activity for festival-goers.
Marylanders Grow Oysters, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Oyster Recovery Partnership, and other conservation organizations were on-hand to discuss efforts to clean and preserve the Chesapeake Bay. Phillips Wharf Environmental Center’s Fishmobile offered the opportunity to see live sturgeon, diamondback terrapins, horseshoe crabs, and other native creatures.
Festival-goers explored CBMM’s exhibitions, including Oystering on the Chesapeake and Waterman’s Wharf, where guests tried tonging or nippering for oysters. Displayed dockside were 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 buyboat Winnie Estelle, among other Chesapeake Bay buyboats visiting for the festival.
Festival-goers had the opportunity to see the beginnings of the two-year historic, log-bottom restoration of the 1889 bugeye and queen of CBMM’s fleet, Edna E. Lockwood, which was once used on the Bay as an oystering boat and is now under restoration in full public view through 2018. Two temporary exhibitions highlight a museum visit during OysterFest, including Maritime Talbot County: Photographs by H. Robins Hollyday, seen in CBMM’s Van Lennep Auditorium through October 16, 2016, and Chesapeake Ammo, Camo and Calls in CBMM’s Waterfowling Building, which explores 100 years of clothing, guns, ammunition, calls and other Chesapeake waterfowler’s tools through November, 2016.
Admission to OysterFest is $5 for CBMM adult members, or $18 for adults; $15 for seniors and students with ID; and $6 for children 6-17. 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 museum festivals, as leashed dogs are permitted only during regular operating hours. Proceeds from the event support the non-profit museum’s education, restoration, and exhibition programs, with more information at www.cbmm.org/oysterfest or 410-745-2916.
Food and boat rides are an additional cost. For safety reasons, please leave pets at home, as they are not permitted on CBMM ground during festivals.
For more information, call 410-745-2916.
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, the nearest ATM is about a five minute walk from CBMM.
Note: We are not accepting any more OysterFest vendors at this time.
2016 OysterFest Sponsors: