Oyster lovers will gather to slurp, swoon, and celebrate the succulent bivalve at the Galway International Oyster Festival (Sept. 25-28). Now in its 60th year, the weekend event is deemed one of Europe’s longest-running food extravaganzas. Opening night kicks off with music, seafood, Ireland’s national shucking championship, and presentation of the season’s first oyster to Galway’s mayor by the newly crowned Oyster Pearl — a tradition since 1954. On Saturday, a parade weaves through the narrow medieval streets to the Spanish Arch and there’s a nonstop afternoon of food and entertainment. Representing the United States, Wellfleet’s William “Chopper” Young will vie to regain the title of world’s fastest oyster shucker— currently held by Denmark’s Jesper Knudsen — at the World Oyster Opening Championship. Events include late-night revels at Masquerade Mardi Gras, cooking demos, seafood trails, and Sunday’s family-friendly festival. Tickets $20-$130. 011-353-91-394637, galwayoysterfestival.com GO CHOPPER! MAY THE BEST SHUCKER WIN!!
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I grew up spending part of every summer in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, which included eating many oysters. After stumbling into an oyster shucking competition in Miami Beach in 2006, I’ve become a fan of the sport and have written about local, national, and international competitions for the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, American Way Magazine, and the Huffington Post. I've also written oyster-centric stories for Rustik and Modern Farmer. I’ve never met an oyster I didn’t want to eat.