Aww, shucks: Hilton Head Oyster Festival

Festival celebrates a Lowcountry staple

November 13, 2009 

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Ted Behling, left, shucks an oyster in the rain with Stephanie Smith while Michael Taylor manages to eat and stay dry after sticking his umbrella handle down his shirt during last year's Hilton Head Oyster Festival at Shelter Cove Community Park.

FILE/THE ISLAND PACKET

  • What/when: Hilton Head Oyster Festival, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Where: Shelter Cove Community Park, Hilton Head Island Cost: $5 to enter; food and drink are extra

Oyster roast season has begun. The Hilton Head Oyster Roast is a weekend-long celebration of the Lowcountry delicacy at Shelter Cove Community Park.

But the festival is more than just a bunch of shucking. The Island Recreation Center puts on the fest to provide for its high school scholarship program, raising up to $5,000 each year.

WHY GO

The oysters, of course. More specifically, more than 250 bushels of them.

Capt. Woody's Bar and Grill prepares the seafood. But more is in store if seafood isn't your thing -- chili, chowder and Street Meet hamburgers and hot dogs also are available. Festivalgoers also can grab a beer or glass of wine and watch the college and NFL action on the big-screen TVs. Meanwhile, kids can romp around in the bounce house and play carnival games.

The holiday craft show auctions off hundreds of dollars worth of golf, fine art and restaurant gift certificates.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Inclement weather kept some would-be festivalgoers at home last year, but more than 2,500 people braved the elements and attended over the two days, organizer Joe Cain said. In fact, the festival was spread out over an entire weekend to maximize the turnout. That way, if one day rained out, chances were the next day would be fine.

It didn't exactly play out like that last year, but so far the forecast for this weekend calls for sun.

THE MUSIC

Bands are divided among the two days of the festival to attract two different crowds based on the music.

An older crowd is expected Saturday, and The Chilly Willy Band and the Matt MacKalcan Band will play. Sunday attracts a younger crowd, and features teenage acts The Stepping Stones and Sara Burns and then White Liquor later in the day.

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