Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum announce OysterFest stew competitors, bands and activities

On Saturday, October 27, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St Michaels, Md. will host two live stages of music and an oyster stew competition as part of OysterFest.

Oyster stew competitors include Sunflowers and Greens and Milestone Catering of Easton, Md.; Bistro St. Michaels, Theo’s Steaks, Sides & Spirits and Crab N Que of St. Michaels, Md.; and t at the General Store of Royal Oak, Md.

Festival goers are encouraged to sample oyster stews beginning at 11:00 a.m. and while supplies last. 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 per participant.

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. Sunflowers & Greens Executive Chef Harley Peet was awarded first place at last year’s festival.

From 1 – 3 pm in the Van Lennep Auditorium, cookbook author Bonnie McDaniel will provide oyster cooking demonstrations and tasting from recipes in her cookbook. “Farm Girl In the City” Bonnie McDaniel is an accomplished chef, gardener and TV host. Her restaurant, Christina’s at the Bailiwick in Fairfax, Va., was a Wine Spectator Award winner, recognized for having one of the best food and wine menus in the world.

Swamp Donkey Newgrass—a high energy newgrass band with a twist of rock—is returning to CBMM’s OysterFest, playing live all day from the Tolchester Beach Bandstand. The Annapolis-based group has played twice before at OysterFest, and is noted for vocal harmonies and tight transitions. Performing from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from the Steamboat deck will be The Freewheelers, bringing their breezy, melodic vibes to Fogg’s Cove and the Miles River.

Family activities include Chesapeake cornhole, giant oyster reef jenga, build-a-boat activities, and children’s storybook readings. Phillips Wharf Environmental Center’s Fishmobile will give guests an opportunity to explore fish, terrapins, horseshoe crabs, blue crabs, oyster toadfish, oysters, eel, box turtles, and more.

This year’s OysterFest presenting sponsor is Shore United Bank, with other sponsors including Patriot Cruises of St. Michaels, Md.; Choptank Electric Cooperative; Ewing, Dietz, Fountain & Kaludis; Hummingbird Inn of Easton; and the Maryland State Arts Council. Additional support comes from Kelly Distributors, George’s Bloody Mary Mix, Eastern Shore Tents & Events, Chesapeake Landing Restaurant, and Lyon Distilling Company.

At the Tolchester Beach Bandstand, festival-goers can watch or participate in an oyster slurping contest, with preliminary rounds taking place on the hour from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with the final contest at 1:45 p.m.

Special to this year’s festival will be the re-launch of the 1889 bugeye Edna E. Lockwood, whose nine-log hull has been restored by CBMM shipwrights and apprentices over the past two years. Edna Lockwood is the queen of CBMM’s floating fleet of historic boats and a National Historic Landmark. She will return to the Chesapeake Bay following a brief ceremony at 3pm, making her way back on the Miles River down CBMM’s marine railway.

Special exhibitions include Exploring the Chesapeake: Mapping the Bay, and Kent’s Carvers and Clubs: Guides, Gunners and Co-Ops.

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 CBMM festivals, with leashed dogs permitted during non-festival dates. Proceeds from the event support CBMM’s education, restoration, and exhibition programs, with advanced tickets and more information at