Get your shuckers ready for the Hilton Head Island Oyster Festival

abredeson@islandpacket.comNovember 8, 2012 

  • The South Carolina Bank and Trust Hilton Head Oyster Festival will get started with a concert from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Shelter Cove Park on Hilton Head Island. The event will continue 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

    The cost is $5; food and drinks are extra. Children ages 12 and under are free. The proceeds will benefit the Hilton Head Island Recreation Association children's scholarship fund.

    Details: 843-681-7273, www.islandreccenter.org

Captain Woody's Bar and Grill owner Russell Anderson and his crew will steam thousands of pounds of oysters this weekend. It's the 11th year Captain Woody's has prepared food for the Hilton Head Island Recreation Association's oyster festival.

After all these years and all those oysters, Anderson still can't get enough of them -- whether they are raw, steamed or Rockefeller.

"That's what's so great about an oyster," Anderson said. "There's no proper way to eat it. You've got people that eat them raw, steamed, topped. You've got people that put horseradish, hot sauce, jalepeños on top. All different ways I've seen it over the years at the oyster fest. ... There's not one way that's right or one way that's wrong."

The three-day festival at Shelter Cove Community Park is an opportunity for the community to get out and enjoy some oysters, have a little fun and support the association's children's scholarship fund. Gates open at 5 p.m. Friday with the shucking continuing Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

Don't worry about lugging around your own cocktail sauce. Organizers will have all the crackers and condiments you need. You might, however, want to bring a small towel or glove for opening up those slimy suckers.

The festival is more than just oysters. Local jazz musician Bobby Ryder will entertain Friday night. The music continues Saturday and Sunday with OCD Band, Matt MacKelcan, TwistedLegs, and Big B & the Stingers.

The festival will include a kid zone, a holiday craft show, a silent auction, marshmallow roasting and more, said Joe Cain, the recreation association's special events director .

"We've got a little something for everyone," Cain said.

For those who are not big oyster fans, Street Meet will be making hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches. Hudson's will be serving up shrimp, she crab soup and gumbo. Skull Creek Boathouse will be selling oyster po' boys and chili, among other dishes. Gillan's Fresh Seafood & Oyster Bar will serve raw oysters and oyster shooters.

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