Hilton Head Oyster Festival serves up fun and lots of food

THE ISLAND PACKET
By Mindy Lucas
Online Article Here

Hilton Head's long-running oyster festival is coming up this week and the Friday night festivities are back by popular demand.

"We had so many people wondering where it was," said event director Joe Cain.

The festival dropped Friday night last year, but decided to add it back in after residents let organizers know they missed it.

Each year the festival attracts about 3,000 people over the course of the event, which draws folks from all over the area and outside the region. And while some may prefer to attend Friday night, others may make a day of it Saturday and Sunday.

Offering a variety of activities spread out over three days gives people a chance to attend the festival on a day of their choosing, said Cain who is also the special events director for The Hilton Head Island Recreation Association, which hosts the annual event.

"So it (also) caters to people who work on Saturdays if Sunday is the one day they can come out," he said.

For oyster lovers, it's a gastronomical paradise since the festival features plenty of fried, steamed and stewed oysters.

In fact, Roy Prescott of Roy's Place Cafe and Catering will be handling this year's seafood order, supplying some 250 bushels of local and Virginia oysters for the event.

Don't care for the salty goodness of this particular shellfish?

Don't worry -- organizers have you covered.

A variety of other food as well as liquor and other beverages will be available for purchase at the event.

"I'm a shrimp guy myself," said Cain, even though he's been known to sport an oyster hat from time to time.

The festival also boasts live music, a kid's zone with activities, a holiday craft show, TVs for viewing must-see football games and a silent auction on Saturday and Sunday. Winners can even claim prizes from the auction at 4 p.m. each day.

Proceeds from the benefit will go to the association's children's scholarship fund.

"It's just a fun, low key community event," Cain said. "It gives people a chance to reconnect with people they haven't seen in forever."

Hilton Head's festival has even gotten high praise from those who know a thing or two about the mollusks.

Cain said he had two New Englanders from different groups last year tell him Hilton Head's festival got high marks compared to their own.

"They said, 'You people know what you're doing. You do it right,'" he said.

If You Go

The Hilton Head Oyster Festival is Friday Nov. 13 through Sunday Nov. 15. Times are 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It includes plenty of oysters and other food, live music, children's activities, a holiday craft show and silent auction.

Admission is $6. Children 10 and younger admitted free. All concessions are sold separately.

The band lineup is:

Friday

B-Town Playaz -- 5:30-8 p.m.
Saturday

Richmond Brothers -- 11 a.m.-noon
Lyn Avenue -- 12-2 p.m.
Matt Mackelcan Band -- 2:30-5 p.m.
Sunday

Richmond Brothers -- 11 a.m.-noon
Zack Stiltner Band -- noon- 2 p.m.
Whiskey Run -- 2:30-5 p.m.
Follow reporter Mindy Lucas at twitter.com/MindyatIPBG.