“Now if you’re ready Oysters dear, we can begin to feed.”

I’m sure that the oysters you will find at the 33rd Annual NC Oyster Festival on the island of Ocean Isle Beach did not voluntarily walk out of the sea like they did for the Walrus and the Carpenter in Lewis Carol’s “Through the Looking Glass” – but isn’t it fun to imagine that they did? 

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This year’s festival, held on Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20, is a great way to spend beautiful Fall days with your family. There will be music in the air both days starting at 10 AM featuring the following bands: Sawgrass, The Entertainers, Jaded Mayberry, The Lost Trailers, New Beginnings Praise Band, Sea Cruz and Craig Woolard Band. You can chow down on oysters and fried fish served by the Shriners or partake of a plethora of other foods and drinks that you will find in the festival area between Second and Third Streets. Be sure to leave enough room to participate in the Oyster Stew Cook-off and vote for your favorite stew. 

A favorite event at this festival is the Oyster Shucking Contest. Amateur and professional oyster shuckers take part in this event free of charge, The professionals, however, are participating in the North Carolina Oyster Shucking Championships and vying for the title of North Carolina Oyster Shucking Champion and a trip to the National Oyster Shucking Championship in Maryland. The winners in Maryland will go on to compete in the World Oyster Shucking Championships in Galway, Ireland.

The kids will enjoy the rides, Super Fun Slide, inflatables, face painting, airbrush tattoos and treats like ice cream and kettle corn. Arts and crafts booths will include handmade jewelry, woodcraft, painted glassware, Christmas ornaments, natural soaps, handcrafted clothing items and other items by local artists. 

Parking on the island is limited but you can catch a free shuttle from the corner of Highway 179 and Causeway Drive or from the Ocean Isle Beach Airport. There is a fee of $5 (payable at the event) for adults and children over eight years of age. Please leave your family pets at home – only service dogs are allowed on the festival grounds.

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