Despite being the smallest state in the union, Rhode Island has an awful lot to brag about. The fantastic beaches, a stellar music and art community, some of the best restaurants in New England and you can’t forget the pizza. Another thing that Rhode Island is very good at is seafood, specifically oysters. These delicacies are as much a part of the state’s culinary culture as a New York System weiner and a pizza strip. On September 23, the third edition of the Ocean State Oyster Festival will be celebrating this unique food on South Water Street in Providence.
Co-organizers Don Nguyen and Frank Mullin have a whole lot in store this time around that makes it more than just a fest for oysters. Local craft beer vendors such as Revival Brewing and Grey Sail Brewing will be on sight along with wine from Jonathan Edwards Winery and alcoholic ginger beer from Farmer Willie’s. Smoke & Squeal BBQ and Nice Slice Pizzeria will be among the food vendors for anyone who isn’t coming for the oysters. Live music courtesy of Jesus Andujar Grupo Sazon, The Z-Boys and the You Rock School Of Music select band will be on stage. DJ’s Ty Jesso, RedDawn and Uncle Thirsty will also be spinning tunes throughout the entire day.
“We’re sticking with a model that we established during the first year”, Mullin says on this year’s installment, “Which is, having as many Rhode Island based oyster farms at one place at one time. It’s a lot of work corralling all of those guys because they’re mostly out harvesting their oysters. We’re going to have 18 farms there this year, which is the most we’ve had so far. A lot of food vendors will be there along with a lot of food trucks for people who can’t deal with oysters.”
As with every festival, each year brings something different. “Something new we’re doing this year is during the shucking competition we made arrangements to have the newly crowned Miss Rhode Island to crown the winner of the shucking competition”, Mullin continues. “We’re going to have this oyster shell crown that’ll be awarded so it’ll be pretty cool. It’s the biggest celebration of oyster shellfish in the state of Rhode Island. Wild oysters to cultivated, wholesale and retail, the largest farms to the smallest, and benefits Save The Bay too. “
Partial ticket proceeds go to benefit Save The Bay’s afterschool youth programs so festival is also supporting a great cause. This year’s Ocean State Oyster Festival promises to be a wild experience as we ease in from the summer into the fall. Make sure to stop by as part of your Saturday adventures and check out what’s going on.
For more information, visit www.oysterfestri.com.