ST. MICHAELS, Md – The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum will celebrate the Bay’s favorite bivalve at OysterFest on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 10am-4pm.
CBMM’s OysterFest features oysters served a variety of ways, along with other local fare, craft beer, and spirits, plus live music on two stages, an oyster stew competition, a full schedule of demonstrations and presentations, children’s activities, and more.
Guests can savor Chesapeake Bay oysters, with both raw and cooked options available, from the Talbot Watermen Association and other local oyster farms.
There will also be a variety of Chesapeake delicacies and other food offerings via local vendors available for purchase, plus a beverage selection that includes specialty cocktails and an array of local craft beer options.
For OysterFest, guests will enter campus through CBMM’s new Welcome Center, getting a first look at the new building overlooking Fogg’s Cove and the chance to shop in the new Museum Store inside. (Please note that the exhibition spaces within the Welcome Center are not yet open to the public.)
The always-popular oyster stew competition invites guests to sample offerings from various local restaurants and then vote for their favorite to decide which chefs will claim the coveted title.
There will be live music on both sides of campus all day long, with stages on both the Tolchester Beach Bandstand and Fogg’s Landing. Swamp Donkey Newgrass will be playing the historic bandstand, bringing its unique “newgrass” sound with a combination of genre-spanning original songs and covers to OysterFest for the fifth time.
Guests can head to Van Lennep Auditorium throughout the day to hear from a variety of guest speakers sponsored by the Upper Shore Regional Folklife Center through the Maryland Traditions Program of the Maryland State Arts Council. The offerings include a series of panels related to CBMM’s special exhibition The Changing Chesapeake and a history presentation from Dr. Clara Small.
The American Chesapeake Club will be on hand to discuss Maryland’s official dog, the Chesapeake Bay retriever, and showcase its retrieving ability, while the 100 Hundred Shores Project will offer the opportunity for guests to dye their own shirts using water from the Miles River.
There’s also an oyster slurp-off contest to add to the friendly competition, plus a wide range of Chesapeake-themed children’s activities, including games, model boat building, and storytime.
Guests can get in the festive spirit by purchasing OysterFest gear in the new Museum Store, showcasing this year’s featured historic oyster tin from CBMM’s collection. The one-gallon tin, packed in the 1940s by W.E. Riggin & Co., out of Crisfield, Md., is emblazoned on shirts and stickers, as well as the commemorative mugs that will be used for the oyster stew competition.
This year, OysterFest is generously sponsored by M&T Bank with support from Eastern Shore Tents & Events, Kelly Distributors, and What’s Up Media.
OysterFest admission is $7 for CBMM member adults and active and retired members of the military (with ID); $19 for non-member adults; $16 for seniors (ages 65 and up) and college students (with ID); $7 for non-member children ages 6–17; and free for member children 6–17, and all children 5 and under. CBMM members at the Family & Friends level and above can also receive the $7 discounted admission for two adult guests.
Tickets can be purchased online in advance or at the gate the day of the festival. Additional free event parking will be available at St. Michaels Middle/High School, with a complimentary shuttle service to and from CBMM running throughout the day.
Food and drinks are available for an additional cost, with carry-on alcohol prohibited. For safety reasons, non-service dogs need to be kept home during CBMM festivals, including OysterFest.
Purchase your tickets in advance now for this rain-or-shine event and learn more at cbmm.org/oysterfest