Your entire family will be happier than clams at this year’s annual Shelton Skookum Rotary OysterFest, taking place October 6-7 in Shelton, next to the Port of Shelton airport. Not a seafood fan? Don’t worry, you don’t have to like seafood to enjoy the largest festival in the area. And, you can feel good about spending your money too, because it 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. It’s also your last chance to have fair food before winter and they have all your favorites – from cotton candy and candy apples to corn on the cob and of course fry bread. 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.
Two Days of Family Friendly Activities
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. There is something for every family member, with plenty for the kids to do on both days. Check out some of the fun things waiting for you at the 37th OysterFest.
West Coast Oyster Shucking Competition – All ages will love this fast-paced competition, whether you eat seafood or not. 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.
Barrel Train Rides – A kid favorite every year, it’s the something the whole family can enjoy.
Marine Touch Tanks – A fun, hands-on educational booth, where kids can learn about intertidal sea creatures and even touch them.
Putt Putt Golf – Fun for the entire family this miniature golf game is presented by local Boy Scout Troops.
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.
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. OysterFest has beer drinkers 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, which will be offering their seasonal dark JubelAle, as well as Georgetown and Elysian Brewing Company from Seattle. Love cider? Seattle Cider Company will 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.
This year’s festival also 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.
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.