No. 63: Head to the Oyster Festival

No need to drive to Oyster Bay. Just jump on a shuttle bus at the Syosset train station to get to the 28th Annual Oyster Festival.

The world is your oyster this weekend at the annual TOBAY Oyster Festival, sponsored by the Oyster Bay Rotary Club and members of the Oyster Bay Charitable Fund. From gastronomic feasts and boat tours to pirate shows and carnival rides, this outdoor waterfront festival, known as the largest of its kind on the east coast, will delight both kids and adults.

Start your journey by stopping at the Capital One Welcome tent by Firemen's Field where the shuttle drops you off. Pick up a map, find out about star attractions, and get the times of all performances. Be sure to have your portrait taken and leave with your free souvenir photo resembling their mascot, a Visigoth.

Work up an appetite by walking back to Audrey Avenue, stopping along the way to check out the sidewalk antiques sale, meet members of the charities that benefit from the Oyster Festival, and say hello to local shop owners.

Once finished, turn around and head back to the end of Shore Avenue to the amusement park and arcade. After a Ferris wheel ride and some games of chance, cross the railroad tracks and be greeted by the wafting aromas from 60 different foodstuffs created by 25 local charities at the Tom Reardon Memorial Food Court, located within the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park lot. Besides the expected oysters on the half shell, sample some seafood sliders, oyster stew, bay scallops, clam fritters, crab rolls, lobster bisque, seafood gumbo, as well as a plethora of International fare.

For those who have an appreciation of arts and crafts, within the same parking lot on the west side you will find 120 artisans selling hand crafted wares in a designated pavilion.

If the stars align just right you may be lucky enough to witness a coast guard helicopter rescue demonstration above the water. To get there, follow West End Avenue until you get to The Waterfront Center, directly north of there is a parking lot and town dock. It is here where you will also be able to get free tours of various seafaring vessels such as America's Privateer LYNX tall ship, the John J. Harvey fireboat, and the US Coast Guard cutter Bollard. For sailing lovers, sign up for a complimentary ride for one-hour aboard a Sonar keelboat, courtesy of .

Nearby the dock don't forget to go on a hunt for buried treasures by Pirates Cove -- twice per day, 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. -- with boisterous buccaneers known as the Kings of the Coast Pirates.

After you have found your booty, trot over to the Cummerford Zoo. Stop in to pet the farm animals and meet the uni-cow, kangaroo, and the coatimundi.

Keep in mind, there are two staging areas to check out free live entertainment:

1. The Main Stage can be found in the northern most corner of the parking lot in the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park. Starting at 11:30 a.m., you can hear the sounds of High Strung, Jerome Bell, Pearl Street Band, Charlie Dane, and The Electrix, respectively, about every hour ending at 6pm. The following day will be Trone, Turnpike Joe and the Traffic jam, Todd Miham and Downside Joyride, The Legendary Murphys, and New Dawn.

2. For arts, entertainment, and contests go to the West End Stage, located on West End Avenue south of the petting zoo. Come view the Island Xtreme Cheerleading Team, the Oyster Eating & Shucking Contest, Jungle Bob and his creatures, and the Long Island High School for the Arts. Most of these performances will be held both days.

More than 200,000 people turn out for this annual event so taking alternate transportation is recommended. The free shuttle bus at the Syosset train station will be picking up passengers on the northeast side of the parking lot, courtesy of Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.

So don't clam up or be shellfish, spread the word.

Category: Family, Food
Oct. 15 and 16, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Audrey Avenue, Shore Avenue, and West End Avenue, Oyster Bay
Note: Most activities are free


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