Fort Pierce Oyster Festival Will Offer 15,000 Oysters And An Oyster Shucking Contest As It As It Works To Promote Reef Restoration
Get ready for some shucking and slurping.
The Fort Pierce Oyster Festival returns Saturday, April 2, with an all-new oyster shucking contest, tons of seafood vendors and, of course, thousands of oysters. The daylong event will take place along the Riverwalk in downtown Fort Pierce from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The festival, which is put on by nonprofit Sea-Life Habitat Improvement Project (SHIP), serves as a charitable event that helps collect oyster shells for reef restoration efforts in the Indian River Lagoon. More than 800 gallons of oyster shells were collected during the 2015 festival alone.
The oyster shucking contest will pit teams of twos and fours against each other as they compete for a cash prize and the title of "Best Darn Shuckers on the Treasure Coast." Whoever shucks the most servable oysters in 15 minutes wins.
"Our biggest struggle with this event has been shucking all the oysters," said April Price, SHIP's executive director. "We thought it would be a fun way to recruit some oyster shuckers."
The festival has ordered 15,000 oysters for this year—that's about a thousand more than last year, according to Price.
Guests can also enjoy live musical performances; art and craft vendors, including local marine and wildlife artist Amber Moran; a children's area with family-friendly activities; and plenty of new oyster-centric eats.
For example, the festival has created a recipe for a dish called Southbridge Oysters, in which the oysters are lightly broiled and topped with asiago cheese and pickled shallots in a champagne vinaigrette.
In addition, Sailfish Brewing Company is developing a special beer for the festival's oyster shooters, which will be served either straight up or "loaded" with cocktail sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice, like a bloody mary.
The annual Coconut Float Race, which raises funds separately for the Treasure Coast Manatee Foundation, will launch from the Manatee Observation & Education Center at 2:30 p.m.
Coconuts have been sold at recent local events for $5 a piece. Each is decorated and hand-painted by contestants before being raced down Moore's Creek. The "fastest" coconut will win a prize.
For more information about the 2016 festival, visit ftpierceoysterfest.com.
(Image via Facebook/Fort Pierce Oyster Festival)