The 5th Annual Montreal Oysterfest is a culinary celebration of beautiful bivalves. The extravaganza features oysters handpicked by the Old Port Fishing Company; food prepared by the town’s top chefs; food-related products, crafts and books; the Mott’s Clamato Caesar Throwdown; and a highly-competitive shucking contest. It’s all happening in a new location this year: Terrasses Bonsecours, a moated island in the heart of Old Port. Mais oui! (Photo by Riccardo Cellere) http://mtloysterfest.com/
An enormous white tent hosts thousands of foodies who flock to the Prince Edward Island International Shellfish Festival, a four-day event packed with culinary demos, celebrity chefs, chowder championships, and oyster shucking competitions. (In a new location this year: the Charlottetown Event Grounds on the corner of Water and Grafton Street.) I don’t know who’ll be showing up to shuck, though you might meet “Oyster Bob” from Vancouver, current Canadian champ Mike Langley, Toronto chef, Patrick McMurray, and Montreal’s Daniel Notkin. Sample all the PEI shellfish you can eat. Live music all day and night. www.peishellfish.com
The crème de la crème of shuckers from America to Singapore compete for the world title at the World Oyster Shucking Championship in Galway. (This year the U.S. will be represented by Robert Daffin from Panama City, Florida.) Party the Irish way at this four-day gala event that starts with a shuck-off to determine the Irish competitor. The medieval city is a striking backdrop for the non-stop events including sumptuous buffets, a parade with pom pom-shaking young colleens, live music, Irish step dancing, Guinness galore, dancing on chairs, and the crowning of the new world champ. www.galwayoysterfest.com
Now in its 13th year, the Wellfleet OysterFest has grown into a 2-day street fair where thousands flock to slurp down succulent bivalves and sample chowder and other specialties prepared by local restaurants. In addition to its famous oysters, Wellfleet is home to shellfisherman William “Chopper” Young, two-time national shucking champion, and the first American to win the internationals in Galway (2008) in 32 years. Other activities include live entertainment, a 5k race, cooking demos, arts and crafts, and lectures on the marine environment.
Leonardtown, Maryland hosts this two-day extravaganza on the third weekend of October. The shucking competition attracts those who vie to claim the title as best in the nation, and win the grand prize ticket to Galway, Ireland for the international championship. In true country-fair tradition, there are arts and crafts, a livestock barn, entertainment tent, historic displays, amusement park, and the National Oyster Cook Off. Enjoy oyster chowder, grilled oysters, raw oysters, Maryland ham, BBQ beef, and deep-fried funnel cake. http://usoysterfest.com/
Kellie Pickler is headlining this year’s Florida Seafood Festival in Apalachicola, but the true stars are the shuckers who’ll open eighteen Apalachicola Bay oysters and compete to win a spot in the national competition in 2014. Weekend festivities also feature an oyster-eating contest, blue crab races, a parade with bands and floats, a blessing of the fleet, 5k road race, fireworks and more. www.floridaseafoodfestival.com