The 41st North Carolina Oyster Festival

“Oysters are the most tender and delicate of all seafoods. They stay in bed all day and night. They never work or take exercise, are stupendous drinkers, and wait for their meals to come to them.”

  • Hector Bolitho

A Coastal Southern Tradition

If there’s one tradition that defines living down South in Autumn, it is a good old-fashioned oyster roast. People line up until the sun sets to enjoy this beloved bivalve. It has become a cultural symbol and a source of income for local businesses here in coastal Carolina. And the festival set to kick off on October 15th is the perfect fall festival to celebrate everything oyster!

41 Years of Fun

41 years is a long time for a festival to be in circulation, which goes to show how much Carolinians love this annual tradition! Held on nearby Ocean Isle Beach from October 15th – 16th, the committee behind this event completely transforms Ocean Isle’s Town Center Park into a bustling festival filled with food, craft vendors, and musical entertainment.

A Bit of History

So, how did this shucktastic tradition start? The North Carolina Oyster Festival can trace its roots back to October 1978. The committee that started the oyster festival had one real objective, to share the culture of coastal Carolina with everyone. During the first few oyster festivals, there was a fish rodeo, a six-mile run, a bike race, and other fun activities. The modern-day iteration is still just as fun, and you can look forward to a variety of activities and entertainment.

Here’s a little peek into what you can expect during this phenomenal weekend-long event!

Musical Guests: A tantalizing spectacle for your ears!

It’s not truly a coastal Carolina festival without some tunes to dance and celebrate with! Exceptional entertainment has always been a hallmark of the North Carolina Oyster Festival. There are plenty of well-known singers and performers ready to bear their souls on stage for you. This year’s musical performances include Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot, Terry Douglas, Split Shot, and the Sea & Sea Band. It’ll be a great blend of your classic beach music along with some funk, variety, and country music!

Contests: Try Your Luck, Win a Buck

If you’re a true oyster lover, then you’ll be looking forward to the contests set to take place for the festival this year! Do you consider yourself a real shuckmaster? Try your hand at the oyster shucking competition. For those who might feel that you can never eat enough oysters, the oyster eating contest might be more your speed. Or consider showing off your seafood cooking skills in the oyster stew cookoff. Whether you’re a participant or a spectator, you’re sure to have a lot of fun with these events.

Vendors a Plenty

Looking for a trinket to commemorate your time at the festival? Want to help give back to the local economy by supporting dozens of regional craftsmen? The North Carolina Oyster Festival is the ideal chance to do just that. There will be many different vendors to browse for 2022 and including everything from woodworking and handcrafted jewelry to articles of clothing.

Here are a few of the vendors you will be able to see at the festival!

  • Argent Sun Designs
  • All Beaded Up
  • Ace Woodworks
  • Agape Market
  • AWR Creations
  • Above the Rest
  • Bonitos Hats
  • Beach and Borough Candle Company
  • Cape Fear Rum Cakes

Stop By and Have a Shuckin’ Good Time

A shuttle will be available to take guests safely back and forth from the festival grounds all weekend. So, grab your shuckin’ knife, plan your day out, and be sure to stop by to see what this amazing coastal tradition is all about. It’s one of the biggest events of Autumn and one we recommend!