Ryleigh’s 7th Annual Oysterfest and Shucking Competition

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catch of the day fish (2)We may be famous for our crabs, but the truth is, Maryland’s got plenty more to offer in the seafood department. In the words of H.L. Mencken, “Baltimore lay very near the immense protein factory of Chesapeake Bay, and out of the bay it ate divinely.” And we still do. Oysters actually became huge business around these parts a couple of centuries ago when we realized that this was a seafood delicacy that could be canned and shipped inland. So yeah, we may have kept the crabs for ourselves, but elsewhere they loved our oysters. This weekend, you can show your own oyster-appreciation at Oysterfest down in Federal Hill.

Oysterfest is basically what it sounds like—a weekend of celebrating (and shucking and eating) oysters. It’s family-friendly (assuming the kids like oysters) and will feature live music, as well as “Buck-a-Shuck” (that is, $1) oysters from up to 20 different oyster farms. Of course, no oysterfest would be complete without a shucking competition, so if you think you’ve got what it takes, you can enter and compete for cash prizes (with which to buy more oysters?) or even a paid sponsorship to send you to the national championship (yes, there is one) in St. Mary’s County. Also, in case you were worried that this was all fun and games without any serious consideration for well, the state of oysters and the Bay, proceeds from the festival will actually benefit the Oyster Recovery Partnership as well as the maintenance of the historic skipjack Sigsbee. In other words, every buck you spend helps ensure there will be more out in the bay for future generations. Aw, shucks.

Ryleigh’s Oysterfest started yesterday and runs through Sunday. Ryleigh’s is located at 36 E. Cross Street in Baltimore. For more information, visit www.ryleighs.com.

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