North Carolina’s Oyster Festival is a celebration of the sea

The festival has been going strong for more than 40 years

The annual North Carolina Oyster Festival is held in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, and celebrates the state’s iconic oyster. With music, eating contests, crafts and more, the festival makes the North Carolina shore a culinary hotspot long after the summer heat has faded.

From October 21-22, the Town Center Park will transform into the much-anticipated Oyster Festival, with a kickoff concert on Friday, October 20, by the Band of Oz.

“North Carolina has been transformed by the labor, vision, and creativity of a new generation of immigrants, and nowhere is this more visible than in the state’s contemporary food economy,” says Southern Cultures.

With the inspiration of Asian and Latinx cultures mixed with southern recipes, the culinary industry in the Carolina’s has a wide array of dishes that celebrate its rich history. This fall they shine a light on one of its popular items, the oyster.

“With the support of our dedicated committee of volunteers, the Town of Ocean Isle Beach, many of our local businesses and the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce, the NC Oyster Festival is your destination for fun,” says the events page.

Oysters reefs have a unique habitat in North Carolina, providing many ecological and economical benefits to the state. The oyster habitat sits among reefs with both deep and low relief patch settings — a feature unique to the North Carolina shore.

The main events take place on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, the festival hosts the North Carolina Oyster Shucking Championship, where contestants race to shuck the most oysters. In addition to the shucking and eating contests, the festival also features a variety of other activities, including:

  • Live music from local and regional bands
  • Arts and crafts vendors
  • Children’s activities
  • Food and drink vendors
  • Oyster sampling

More than 30,000 people are expected attend the festival. It’s free for children 12 and under and costs $5 for adults. If you plan to attend the festival, it is recommended to bring cash, as most vendors don’t accept credit cards.

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