The NJ Oyster Festival is coming to the Bayshore Center at Bivalve in October

COMMERCIAL TWP. — For many, the freshly caught raw oysters enjoyed on the docks can paint the perfect picture of summer.

But it’s mid-October that oyster connoisseurs will love Port Norris, where Bivalve’s Bayshore Center will host New Jersey’s first annual Oyster Festival beginning at noon on Saturday, October 15.

Teri Watson, director of donor and volunteer relations at the Bayshore Center, said local farm vendors will provide their own scalers for the ticketed event (in addition to a $25 entry).

However, participants do not necessarily have to miss out if they want to be more involved in the process.

“We’re also going to be having a shucking contest, so locals who like to shuck oysters can come and compete,” Watson said.

Bayshore Center at Bivalve

Bayshore Center at Bivalve via Facebook

Food trucks for those who don’t like oysters or prefer them cooked will be on site, but Watson said the raw shellfish will remain the star attraction.

“We’re going to have a contest for the ‘people’s choice’ prize for their favorite oyster because there are so many different types of oysters,” she said.

The oyster industry has changed, according to Watson, now including not only wild oysters, but also farmed ones.

This shift will be the topic a series of speakers are set to address at the festival, as well as the premiere of a new short film about the current state of chipping.

Beer and wine, live music and craft vendors are other reasons to take a weekend trip to Cumberland County this fall.

“Each person, with their admission, will get a free drink, they will get their first beer or their first wine on us or if they prefer a soda or something, their first drink on us, and they will get their first three oysters on us” “You can go to our website, or you can go to njoysterfestival.com,” Watson said.

AJ Meerwald

Bayshore Center at Bivalve via Facebook

Parking space is limited, Watson said, but it’s free.

The museum portion of the Bayshore Center will be open during the event, and tours will be offered on the recently restored AJ Meerwald schooner, which just returned from an 11-month stay in Maine.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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