Come Out of Your Shell at the Oyster Festival

Ocean Isle Beach hosts its annual bivalve bash Oct. 19-20

With cool temperatures finally here, fall is the perfect time for a weekend getaway to the coast.

If you need an incentive to make the three-hour trip to the beach, October begins the oyster season in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. There is no better place to celebrate this magnificent mollusk than at the 39th Annual North Carolina Oyster Festival held October 19-20 in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.

Local restaurants will compete to see who has the best oyster stew, and festival attendees are invited to help judge.

Roasted, steamed, stewed or fried — oysters will be on display and ready to tickle your taste buds. More than 30,000 attendees show up for oysters galore as local restaurant booths line the streets at this two-day festival.

In between bites, consider entering one of the festival’s traditional contests of skill and dexterity. The Oyster Eating Contest judges who can eat them the fastest, and the Oyster Shucking Contest determines who is the quickest at shucking shellfish. At the Oyster Stew Cook-off, local restaurants compete to see which has the best oyster stew — and attendees get to help judge!

As you stroll through blocks of arts and craft vendors, live music will entertain you.  On Saturday, the Terry Douglas Band, Darrell Harwood and Chocolate Chip & Company will perform. Sunday will feature beach music by The Embers with Craig Woolard and Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot.

Admission for the festival is free for children 12 and younger and $5 for adults. For more information visit ncoysterfestival.com.

Test your skill at the oyster eating contest.

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