Blue Point's Mark Burford and local officials announce title sponsorship of Oysterfest

Blue Point Brewing Co. of Patchogue will be the title sponsor of the 36th Annual Oyster Festival in Oyster Bay, meaning that the formerly dry event will now feature a beer garden, officials announced Monday.  

The festival, which will take place on Oct. 19 and 20 at waterfront Theodore Roosevelt Park, is organized by the Rotary Club of Oyster Bay and benefits many local nonprofit organizations. Mark Burford, Blue Point’s co-founder and president, said the decision to sponsor Oyster Fest was an easy one.  

“Blue Point is also located in a seaside community and we are very involved in sustainability issues including the Billion Oyster Project, so this was a natural fit for us,” said Burford, who was on the Long Island Press Power List. “We’re happy to be part of keeping the Oyster Festival tradition alive, and here’s to more oysters and of course, beer!” 

Oyster Fest is the second largest annual event on Long Island after the Jones Beach air show. The festival attracts more than 150,000 people each year to enjoy oysters served raw on the half-shell, fried, or in stew. The festival estimates that more than 60,000 oysters will be consumed, all donated by local oyster company Frank M. Flower & Sons.

Long Island’s largest craft brewery will be serving six different beers, including a special IPA brewed just for the festival. Festgoers can also expect to enjoy Blue Point’s Good Reef Ale made in partnership with the Billion Oyster Project. For every pint sold of Good Reef, five oysters will be restored to oyster reefs in New York harbors, with each oyster filtering up to 50 gallons of water per day.

Related Story: Oyster Bay: More Than Just Shellfish

The brewery will also bring to the festival Keenan Boyle (aka #tallmuthashucka), who runs the raw bar at Blue Point’s tasting room and restaurant in Patchogue and is an expert on Long Island oysters. Blue Point’s love of oysters is evident at the brewery’s tasting room and brewpub in Patchogue, which has a raw bar featuring local oysters. Blue Point will also host its first annual Oyster Ball on Oct. 5 at the brewery featuring unlimited oysters and live music from local bands, with part of the proceeds going to groups advocating for clean water including the Billion Oyster Project, GreenWave, and Seatuck Environmental Association.

Rumors had been swirling this summer that the Oyster Festival would be cancelled this year but a campaign to save the festival, led by Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and former New York State Sen. Carl Marcellino resulted in the landing of new sponsors to provide much needed financial support. 

“It was very important to us to keep the Oyster Festival going, especially because of the money we raise for local charities,” Marcellino said.  

In addition to Blue Point, which reportedly paid $40,000 for the title sponsorship, other businesses signed on as sponsors including Blumenfeld Development Group, Stop & Shop, Ferrari-Maserati of Long Island and Altice USA.

The festival features a food court with many other food choices besides just seafood, along with live music, amusement rides, and family activities. This year the festival will also have a replica of the Santa Maria docked at the waterfront and available for tours. The ship was built in Spain in 2017 by the Nao Victoria Foundation and is an exact replica of the vessel sailed by Christopher Columbus.  

“It is fitting that the town of Oyster Bay, which celebrates history every day, will host this ship which brings an important moment in history to life,” Saladino said. 

For more information on the 36th Annual Oyster Festival see www.theoysterfestival.org.

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.

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