In other parts of the world, the first chilly nights of autumn bring an end to outdoor festival season. But when cold winds start blowing here on Delmarva, it’s time to break out an extra layer or two and head out to slurp down bivalves and beer. There are dozens of oyster festivals between October and March–some outdoors, some indoors. Here are a few of the more notable options.
Chincoteague Oyster Festival
Oct. 7 in Chincoteague, Va.
This one will sell out early, so don’t procrastinate. The menu usually includes clam chowder, raw oysters, steamed oysters, single fried oysters, oyster fritters, and clam fritters. No worries, there is a salad bar, too. Details.
The Rock Hall Fall Fest
Oct. 14 in Rock Hall, Md.
This street festival in a real-deal fishing community on the Upper Eastern Shore has music, crafts, vendors, and lots of oysters–shucked, fried, stewed, all of it. Details.
The Saxis Island Oyster Roast
Oct. 14 in Saxis, Va.
The main event here–an all-you-can-eat, BYOB affair on a Saturday afternoon in a real-deal watermen town–will be held under a pavilion at the Town Harbor. There will probably be an after-party at Capt. E’s Hurricane Grill. You might want to practice your karaoke for that. Here is info.
Soule Arnold Oyster and Clam Steam
Oct. 14 in Exmore, Va.
This bit of small-town bliss is held outdoors in a park along Exmore’s Main Street. Seaside oysters, clams, clam chowder, pulled pork, and lots more on the menu. Details.
Tilghman Island Day
Oct. 21 on Tilghman Island, Md.
In addition to boat docking, workboat races, and live music, there will be oyster-shucking fun, raw oysters, steamed oysters, oyster stew, oyster fritters, steamed crabs, crab cakes, crab soup, soft crabs, and fried clams. Nonseafood dishes as well. Details.
Snow Hill Seafood Festival
Oct. 22 in Snow Hill, Md.
This all-you-can-eat affair on the Lower Eastern Shore features oysters fixed every which way, plus lots of other seafood treats prepared by area restaurants and civic groups. Live music, “bottomless” beer, more. Details.
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum Oyster Festival
Oct. 28 in St. Michaels, Md.
On top of the title attraction, the museum’s annual bivalve bash will have boat rides, live music, and activities geared to all ages. Details.
Mount Harmon Bull & Oyster Roast
Nov. 4 in Earleville, Md.
This one is held under a big tent on a gorgeous old plantation along the Upper Eastern Shore backroads west of Cecilton, Md. The manor house should be open for tours. There will be bluegrass music along with raw, fried, roasted, and baked oysters. Scroll down to the date here for details.
The Island House Oyster Roast
Sat., Nov. 4 in Wachapregue, Va.
Tickets sell out in the blink of an eye for this annual roast in the storied “Little City by the Sea.” It benefits the Navy Seal Foundation. Here is the event on the Island House Facebook page. Don’t dawdle if tickets are still available–the event always sells out.
Fisherman’s Grille Oyster Roast
Sat., Nov. 4 in Crisfield, Md.
The Fisherman’s Grille in Crisfield, Md. is putting on its second annual Oyster Roast on Sat., Nov. 4. Oysters four ways and lots of other food and drink. Details.
The Brew and Oyster Brawl
Sat., Nov. 11 in Easton, Md.
This one happens at the Tidewater Inn smack dab in the middle of the big town-wide Waterfowl Festival held annually in Easton, Md. Music and libations on top of the oysters and other Eastern Shore-inspired foods. Details.
Crab, Bull, and Oyster Road at the Jetty
Sat., Nov. 11 on Kent Island, Md.
The Jetty Dock Bar at Kent Narrows on Kent Island, Md. is throwing a Crab, Bull, and Oyster Roast on Sat., Nov. 11. Details.
Cape Charles Historical Society Oyster Roast
Sat., Nov. 25 in Cape Charles, Va.
Traditionally held at the Cape Charles Museum on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this one features fried chicken, chowder, and voluminous sides on top of the title attraction. Live music, too. Info here.
The EVO Oyster Fest
Sat., Nov. 25 in Salisbury, Md.
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25, Evolution Craft Brewing is putting on an Oyster Fest with music by the Dunehounds. Shucking stations, fried oysters, baked oysters, beer tastings, more. Details.
The Cambridge Ice & Oyster Festival
Jan. 12 & 13, 2024
In addition to abundant oysters, this fun annual event will have lots of ice sculptures, libations, and family-friendly touches. Bundle up! Facebook event here.
The Barrier Islands Center Oyster Roast
Probably on Feb. 24, 2024 in Machipongo, Va.
Bundle up, as you’ll spend much of this February night outside under a tent, albeit a tent with heaters. Traditionally, the date is the last Saturday in February. Usually, it’s staff from local oyster houses who handle the roasting of wild seaside oysters and the steaming of clams here. Libations, music, auctions, etc. Fair warning: The event sells out quickly year in and year out, so pay attention to the dates tickets go on sale at this event info page.
The Oyster Eat
Probably on Feb. 23, 2024 in Georgetown, Del.
Since way back in the 1930s, the fire company in Georgetown, Del. has thrown an Oyster Eat party on the last Friday in February. Here is a little background, and that site is where details on the 2024 event will appear when the big day approaches.
Snow Hill Oyster Roast
Late March 2024 in Snow Hill, Md.
An all-you-can-eat affair in which local chefs come up with oyster-based dishes. Live band, bottomless beer, etc. When they are ready to announce 2024 details, this is the page to visit–click on events.
–Posted by Jim Duffy in September 2022 and then updated in September 2023 for Secrets of the Eastern Shore/Whimbrel Creations LLC. Thank you very much for spending time on this page and wandering around this site.