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Oyster Fest 2014 Explored



The New Orleans festival season rages on, and this weekend celebrates a seafood delicacy that can be cooked up more than a dozen ways. This Saturday, May 31st and Sunday, June 1, Woldenberg Park will harbor mollusk mavens for the fifth annual New Orleans Oyster Festival. NoDef got the inside scoop on this year’s celebration from Oyster Fest representative Jeffrey Ory.

 

Whether you like your bivalves baked, charbroiled, chargrilled, fried, or raw, Oyster Fest delivers. From the humble po-boy to fois gras, the oyster finds its way into a multitude of dishes, and over 20 restaurants are taking part in this year’s celebration. The restaurant list features some expected names like Acme Oyster House, Andrea’s, Antoine’s, Arnaud’s, Bourbon House, Desire Oyster Bar, Drago’s, Galatoire’s Jacques-Imo’s, Oceana, Royal House, and Superior Seafood. However, offerings from NOLA Snow Snoballs and Haydel’s Bakery help to round out the cuisine. Ory’s suggestion to “come hungry” to the fest sounds like equal parts advice and warning.

 

Of course, all New Orleans festivals need a bumping soundtrack, and the Oyster Fest is no different. Musical acts at this year’s event include The Bucktown All Stars, Bonerama, and (appropriately) the Raw Oyster Cult. Bands will rock the fest from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

 

Bigger, Faster, Stronger

Three contests will add a competitive edge to this year’s festival. How many oysters can you slurp up in eight minutes? Last year’s champion, Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, downed 24 dozen. That’s almost 300 oysters! If you can belly up to the bar against this crowd, join in the Acme Oyster House Oyster Eating Competition.

 

Drop by the Cultural Tent to gawk at the gigantic proportions of contestants for this year’s Largest Oyster Contest. Past winners will also be on display. 

 

Lastly, the P&J Shucking Contest is a highly competitive event in which master shuckers from all over New Orleans attempt to serve up the most oysters in two minutes. These pros can dish up nearly 20 oysters in that amount of time, and the competition promises to be fast and fierce.

 

According to Ory,  the annual oyster shucking contest will be be bigger and better. There will be a preliminary round to seed the oyster shucking competition at the festival. Hopeful contestants can go to the 100 block of Bourbon Street at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday the 28th to vie for a choice spot at the final shucking competition on Sunday the 31st. 

 

Fresh for 2014

This year's Oyster Festival will have two new additions. VIP tickets are available for purchase for the first time this year. While the general festival is free and open to the public, purchasers of a VIP Pass will receive access to complementary food and drink, additional seating and restrooms, as well as a private viewing area for the fest’s musical acts.

 

Ory advises festival attendees to “come ready for a good time and hungry.” 

 

Visit www.neworleansoysterfestival.org for more information about this year’s event.

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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor


Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt


B. E. Mintz


Stephen Babcock

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