Aw, shucks! The 28th annual Oyster Festival, one of the top recurring events on Long Island, kicks off this weekend in downtown Oyster Bay.
The festival, which draws an estimated 200,000 people, features live music, a carnival, petting zoo, fireworks, arts and crafts, more than 100 vendors, oyster eating and shucking contests in addition to a menu that goes well beyond just shellfish.
“There will be something for everyone,” said Kerry Gillick-Goldberg, a spokeswoman for the festival. It runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Scheduled performers include former American Idol contestant Jerome Bell, The Island Xtreme All Stars Cheerleading team and a handful of local bands.
Festival-goers will also be able to take in some nautical history at the nearby waterfront park overlooking the community’s namesake bay.
The John J Harvey fireboat, which helped put out many infamous fires between 1931 and 1994, will be docked in the marina during the festival. So will The Lynx, a replica privateer ship of the same name from the War of 1812.
Chris Gallagher, president of the Oyster Bay Rotary Club, noted that the festival is not-for-profit and the proceeds fund 20 local community organizations.
“It’s a great thing that we’ve been doing for the past 28 years and I hope we’ll be doing it for another 100,” he said.
Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto shared in the sentiment at an August news conference promoting the event.
“I don’t know if there’s another event that is so successful… it really puts a face on this town,” he said town. “It’s definitely [this town’s] signature event.”
The Long Island Rail Road station is in the heart of the downtown area for those traveling by train. Those driving to the festival seeking to avoid traffic can park at the Syosset train station and take a shuttle.
Temperatures will be in the 60s this weekend. It is expected to be cloudy and windy on Saturday and mostly sunny on Sunday.
For more information, visit the festival website.