Perched on the scenic, coastal hills of Northern Long Island, Oyster Bay’s historical sites and large-scale events make it the perfect destination for a coastal New York escape. From Sagamore Hill National Historic Site - the former home of Theodore Roosevelt - to the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, Oyster Bay is a history buff’s dream. Home to great restaurants like Canterburys Oyster Bar & Grill and Wild Honey Dining and Wine, this city offers a spectrum of dining options.
The Long Island Oyster Festival is one of the largest culinary events in the region, and it will take place October 14-15 on the Oyster Bay waterfront. Attendees will encounter an oyster eating spectacular, complete with volunteer organizations preparing and serving a variety of delectable oyster dishes. Regional musicians and entertainers will perform continuous live entertainment on two stages. Patrons looking to showcase their oyster eating or shucking prowess should enroll one or both of the Annual Oyster Shucking and Eating Contests. In three large waterfront tents, more than 140 arts and crafts vendors will sell everything from potpourri to infused cooking oils. Kids will encounter numerous carnival rides, a petting zoo, and pirate shows by the Kings of the Coast Pirates. The John J. Harvey 9/11 Fireboat will be on display on the waterfront, and the Christeen (40-foot gaff-rigged sloop) will give rides around West Harbor. We interviewed Kerry Gillick-Goldberg, a representative for the event, to learn more about this great all-ages experience.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.
KGG: More than 150 years ago, a young Theodore Roosevelt and his family summered in Oyster Bay not far from the waterfront property that today bears his name. Community leaders organized a parade to celebrate his 125th birthday, the roots of which became the Oyster Festival in 1983.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
KGG: We are in our 34th year!
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
KGG: The festival attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually, a success attributed to the year-round dedication of Oyster Bay Rotary Club members and its Long Island business community sponsors.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
KGG: There is something for everyone. We see families, groups of friends, and couples.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
KGG: The Festival provides local not-for-profit clubs and organizations a platform to raise funds through participation in the Thomas Reardon Memorial Food Court. Participating charities based within the Oyster Bay-East Norwich school district have served fresh seafood, ethnic culinary delights, and traditional American fare to hundreds of thousands of festival-goers for the past three decades. Profits from the Charity Food Court remain with each non-profit organization to help fund their programming. Newsday sponsors the Oyster Festival’s Oyster Booth Food Court, and New York Community Bank sponsors the Tom Reardon Memorial Charity Food Court. The event is the largest fundraiser for many of our participating organizations. For some organizations, it’s their only fundraiser.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
KGG: A full list of the festival activities is on our website.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
KGG: There are quite a few beautiful places to stay, including the Fox Hollow Inn, Oheka Castle, and The Garden City Hotel.
RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up specifically for the event?
KGG: We offer discounted rates at the Best Western in Woodbury, but those spots are usually snapped up early by our craft vendors.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
KGG: Oyster Festival generates a considerable economic impact across the hamlet of Oyster Bay, as well as across the island.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
KGG: The event supports a variety of local causes. Check our website to see some of the participating organizations.
For more information about the Long Island Oyster Festival, please visit the event website.