You’ll be happy as a clam at this year’s annual Shelton Skookum Rotary OysterFest, taking place October 6-7 in Shelton, next to the Port of Shelton airport. You don’t have to love, or even like, seafood to have fun at the largest festival in the area, which serves as the largest fundraising event in the Puget Sound Area. Between the competitions, kids’ activities, microbrews, wineries, live music, fair food, and of course seafood, there is something for everyone at OysterFest.
Over 100 local non-profit services clubs and organizations come together for this two-day festival, offering up all kinds of treats for your palate, from barbecue oysters to spring rolls and fresh cider to local wines. Already missing fair food? Then you don’t want to miss this event – it’s your last chance before winter to get beloved favorites such as candy apples, cotton candy, and corn on the cob. Oh, and don’t forget the fry bread! Another fair favorite, this wonderfully sweet treat is sold by the Squaxin Elders, which along with their salmon, are both favorites of festival-goers. The best part about all this yummy food is it comes guilt free – each purchase supports the non-profits’ works, including scholarships and community improvement projects.
Wondering what is the most popular item? That would be the coconut shrimp from Senior Citizens of South Sound, which sells out quick, so make it one of your first stops.
Wine and Beer Tasting
No matter whether you are feasting on fair food or seafood, OysterFest has the perfect drink to wash it down, with choices from nearly 40 wineries and breweries! This year’s festival has 19 wineries in attendance, including Walter Dacon, which has an abundant number of awards as well as the honor of being the 2018 OysterFest Label Winery; Westport Winery, which has won numerous gold medals for their artistically blended wines; and the popular Scatter Creek Winery and Brewing, which was a 2017 Winner for Best Winery on Seattle’s A List from cityvoter.com. A full list of attending wineries can be found on the OysterFest website.
Souvenir glasses are just $5, with tasting tickets available for just $1; each taste of wine is two to four tickets, depending on the wine.
If you are more of a beer drinker, OysterFest has you covered with 32 breweries located in the 21-years-old and older Microbrew Area. Enjoy your favorite or try something new while enjoying live music from the stage. A few of the attending microbrews include the popular Deschutes Brewery, who will be offering their seasonal dark JubelAle, as well as Georgetown and Elysian Brewing Company from Seattle. Love cider? Seattle Cider Company will also be in the Microbrew Area serving up their semi-sweet Flagship Cider. A full list of attending breweries can be found on the OysterFest website
Two Days of Family Friendly Activities
There is something for every family member, with plenty for the kids to do. Since aquaculture is a large part of Mason County, the festival includes many booths where kids (and adults!) can learn about the oysters’ habitats – mudflats and tidal zones. Below are just a few highlights of the fun things to do during the 2018 OysterFest.
West Coast Oyster Shucking Competition – you don’t have to like seafood at all to enjoy this fast-paced competition! Both days, expert shuckers will pit against each other to see who will go home with the title of “fastest shucker” or “best half-shell shucker.” This competition is a preliminary event to the National Oyster Shucking Championship Contest held in St. Mary’s County Maryland October 20-21, 2018.
Marine Touch Tanks – Kids love this hands-on educational booth that has many intertidal sea creatures they can actually touch.
Putt Putt Golf – fun for the entire family this miniature golf game is presented by local Boy Scout Troops.
Barrel Train Rides – A kid favorite every year, it’s the something the whole family can enjoy.
Two Stages with Live Music – On top of all the fun things to do, there will be live music playing both days, with plenty of your favorite tunes. Hear the talents of the Al Earick Band, Michelle D’Amour and the Love Dealers, The Raucous Band, and Hurts Like Hell on October 6 on the Microbrew Stage; Strings and Things, Cloggers, Hilary Scott, and Tammy Frost Band on October 6 on the Wine Stage; Chrome Betty, Psychedelic Shadow Show, and Strike Nine on October 7 on the Microbrew Stage; and Pine Top Pickers, Lady Drinks Whiskey and Smoocho Gusto on October 7 on the Wine Stage.
Getting to OysterFest
The event is located at 150 W Sanderson Way, Shelton. Washington State Patrol will be directing traffic. Turn west at the Sanderson Way exit from Highway 101 (one mile north of the old Fairgrounds). Proceed west on Sanderson Way to the old runway and follow the parking attendants to your parking spot.
OysterFest is open Saturday, October 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 7 from 10:00 to 5:00 p.m. Admission is just $5, and remember all proceeds goes to charity. Purchase your tickets in advance and avoid the lines at the gate!
Onsite parking is free and there is plenty of handicap parking. There is also a free shuttle bus service that will drop you off right at the front gate. Shuttles run every 15-20 minutes from Shelton Civic Center, Shelton Yacht Club and across the street from Shelton High School.