Oyster lovers from far and wide are gearing up for the 19th annual Pemaquid Oyster Festival on Sunday, Sept. 29, at the Schooner Landing in Damariscotta from noon to dusk. The event is a fundraiser for the Edward A. Meyers Marine Conservation Fund which awards grants to local non-profit organizations who protect the marine environment and promote the working waterfront.
The Pemaquid Oyster Company has been busy harvesting their celebrated bivalves to be shucked and served at two raw bars with a variety of Waldostone Farm gourmet mignonette sauces. Oysters will also be baked and stewed for festival goers to enjoy under a tent --- the event is held rain or shine. In addition, there will be Pemaquid mussels, lobster rolls, local craft brews, bloody Marys and a limited menu available from the Schooner Landing Restaurant.
The festival offers free admission, though donations are welcome. The fund is named for Edward Meyers, an aquaculture pioneer and mentor to the growers working the Damariscotta River, often regarded as the Napa Valley of the cultivated American oyster. As coastal waters cool with the coming of fall, the oysters are at their best- fat and sweet- a perfect time to enjoy a platter of Pemaquid oysters and honor the river where Native Americans enjoyed the fruits of the sea for several thousand years.
In addition to thousands of fresh oysters, the festival offers educational exhibits by marine conservation and aquaculture organizations, including the Darling Marine Center, the Damariscotta Fish Ladder, Maine Aquaculture Association, Coastal Rivers, the Aquaculture Research Institute, Maine Sea Grant, American Unagi, and Mook Sea Farm.
Live music all afternoon on the festival stage features the Scotty River Trio, the Oystermen, Eric Green and the Boneheads.
The festival proudly hosts the Maine State Oyster Shucking Contest, where contestants race against the clock to shuck a dozen oysters. The fastest shucker is awarded a cash prize, the coveted oyster belt and an invitation to compete at the National Shucking Contest in St. Mary’s, Maryland.
The Rivertripper will be offering tours from the Schooner Landing docks to view the oyster farms and learn about the industry that has grown to employ nearly 100 people on the Damariscotta River.
A new feature of this year’s festival is the involvement of Garbage to Garden, a Portland-based organization which will facilitate a comprehensive recycling program at the festival and oyster shells will be available for purchase to festival goers.
The Pemaquid Oyster Festival would not be possible without the assistance of community volunteers and the support of many local businesses including, Reny’s, Colby and Gale, Mine Oyster, Seacoast Coffee, Cheney Financial Group, Ames Hardware, Damariscotta Bank and Trust, Mexicali Blues, First Wealth Management, Camden National Bank, Laura Cabot Catering, Blaze Brewing, Waldostone Farm, Performance Food Service, Narragansett Leathers, Damariscotta River Cruises and Eastern Traders.
Please leave your dogs at home.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the festival on Facebook and Instagram.