With the arrival of the warm weather, Bowen’s Wharf Co. is excited to announce the addition of a new event in downtown Newport: the First Annual Bowen’s Wharf Newport Oyster Festival on May 21st and 22nd, with the Opening Night Party on May 20thThe Festival will celebrate Rhode Island’s aquaculture with the intention of raising awareness of this significant segment of the state’s economy and the people involved.

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“Bowen’s Wharf Co. is proud to support Rhode Island’s burgeoning Oyster Aquaculture industry,” said Bart Dunbar, President of Bowen’s Wharf Company. “It is so exciting to be part of a vibrant, expanding fishery and introduce to the public the individual oyster growers that are making it happen.”

The Newport Oyster Festival will connect Rhode Island growers with the oyster-loving public, as well as the chefs and restaurants that serve them. Growers, sponsors, non-profits and exhibitors will be on-site during the Festival to educate and provide opportunities to enjoy the bounty of aquaculture in Rhode Island.

Bowen’s Wharf Co. has been successfully organizing the Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival since 1990 to connect shell fishermen, lobstermen and fishermen with the local restaurants and with the public. The inaugural Bowen’s Wharf Newport Oyster Festival is one more endeavor to support maritime businesses, which Bowen’s Wharf Co. prides itself on.

Honoring Rhode Island’s aquaculture the festival offers fresh specialties hauled from Rhode Island waters. Participating restaurants such as Fluke Wine Bar & Kitchen, Diego’s, The Wharf Pub, 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille, Cru Café, The Landing and Matunuck Oyster Bar will serve their most celebrated dishes, which will be available for purchase. Chilled wine and prosecco, beer, specialty cocktails, spirits, and soft drinks will also be available. Café-style seating is set up throughout the Wharf around the live music stage.

The Bowen’s Wharf Newport Oyster Festival will be the first festival in Newport to incorporate total trash, recycling and compostable receptacles plus the support necessary to accomplish proper separation. Compostable plates, utensils and cups will be used and composted. Additionally, The Nature Conservancy and Perry Raso from Matunuck Oyster Bar are working with Bowen’s Wharf Co. to ensure that the oyster shells from the festival are collected and reused to build a new reef in a salt pond in Rhode Island later this year.

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Tickets and additional information

Friday, May 20th – A night of oysters on the waterfront
Mingle with a small group of growers shucking under the lights and festival tents. Wine and prosecco will create perfect pairings for a memorable and informational marriage of “merroir” and tasting notes. Featured oysters are: Aquidnecks, Breachways, Chessawanocks, Salt Ponds, Matunucks and Watch Hills. With live, acoustic Caribbean music throughout the evening, the Newport Oyster Festival Opening Night Party will benefit the Ocean State Aquaculture Association and SSV Oliver Hazard Perry. Also launching on this exclusive evening is the new Rhode Island Oyster Trail.

Tickets are $125 and are limited to 150 people. Tickets include all-you-can-eat, freshly shucked oysters, open bar with complimentary wine glass. Curated selections of Santa Margherita wine and prosecco pairings will accompany each oyster. With a true ocean (or pond)-to-table experience, guests will be served signature Oyster Festival drinks and a variety of delicacies from the Ocean State’s best chefs at Matunuck Oyster Bar, The Landing, and Russell Morin Catering.

Saturday, May 21st and Sunday, May 22nd – Bivalves by the water
The Bowen’s Wharf Newport Oyster Festival, presented with Santa Margherita, will feature Rhode Island aquaculture. Taste your way around Rhode Island with oysters from over 13 different growers.

Tickets are $27 in advance for each day. Two time slots are available daily, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and advance purchase tickets include four fresh, Rhode Island oysters and a beverage. Tickets for additional oysters will be sold on site, in addition to a full bar and food provided by local restaurants, which will also be available for purchase. Tickets at the door are $35 and may not include free oysters or beverage. Admission is based on available space under the tents. Children 12 and under are free.

The Newport Oyster Festival is a rain or shine event with live music, a shucking contest and aquaculture educators on site in a family-friendly, historic waterfront shopping and dining district. Supporting sponsors include Santa Margherita USA, Stella Artois, Bully Boy Distillers & Coole Swan. Tickets for both events can be purchased through the Bowen’s Wharf website at: http://www.bowenswharf.com/newport-oyster-festival.