Lowcountry Oyster Festival Of course there were the diehard oyster aficionados who had obviously attended this event in the past, not as a fashion event but a social one. These folks planned ahead, got there early, brought beach chairs, staked out a spot in front of the stage where all the live musical entertainment was happening. They triangulated their calculations in choice of real estate to be close enough to the beer vendors but just far enough away from the portable potties as to avoid the crowds that would naturally have to visit the other after visiting the first. These avid oyster eaters came with gloves and a shucking knife and had the routine to a science: bucket, shuck it, beer & bucket, shuck it beer. The groups congregated, socialized, relaxed, took in the music, enjoyed the atmosphere, the sun on their faces, and then went back for the next bucket. And I was pleased to see these people meticulously dispose of all the empty oyster shells to be systematically collected for recycling in order to create beds for future oyster harvests.
I could see why this event is the premier oyster festival during this season. This is the place for hardcore oyster lovers to come and get their fill. There were literally truckloads of oysters to be had by oyster connoisseurs. There was row upon row of tables where buckets of oysters changed hands and upon which both novice and experienced shuckers, shucked to their hearts delight. Cocktail sauce was liberally distributed for those who opted not to take their oysters straight but topped or topless, thousands stood in line to poke, split, scoop and swallow.
Naturally there were other happenings at the Oyster Festival: some vendors, some children's activities and even touring the historical grounds at the Boone Hill Plantation is a great take-in but make no mistake, this is an oyster-eating event for the serious oyster eater; and that's why it has well earned its reputation as such.
One might ask, why not just order a dozen oysters at a local restaurant and skip the drive and parking, crowds and lines. All this, some might think, is simply not worth it just to get at the delicate treat inside the tough shells. That's like asking why not just put your feet into a wading pool in your back yard instead of going to the beach. It's certainly more convenient but really, which is more fun? Those in the know - know: Come early, come hungry, come prepared, it's an oyster thing. If I have to explain, you just wouldn't understand!
For more information about the Lowcountry Oyster Festival.