This Sunday, January 31, Boone Hall Plantation will welcome 80,000 lbs of oysters and an estimated 10,000 attendees to the World’s Largest Oyster Festival- the Lowcountry Oyster Festival. The Greater Charleston Restaurant Association (GCRA) is celebrating the Festival’s 33rd year with a number of new offerings including local oysters from St. Jude Farms as well as complimentary shuttle service to festival grounds from designated parking areas.
Here’s a cheat sheet for everything you should see, do, and eat at the festival:
What to See:
- Legendary “Oyster Shucking” & “Oyster Eating” contests, occurring at 1:30pm. Registration takes place at the Festival.
- Live Chef Demos, sponsored by St. Jude Farms
- Adam Miller from Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.
- Vaughn Collins from Bay Street Biergarten, 2-5 p.m.
- Live music from The Piedmont Boys at 12pm
What to Eat:
- $12 buckets of Chesapeake Bay single select oysters will be available for purchase
- St. Jude Farms will be on site, offering up steamed local “Otter Roasters” for purchase
- During the Chef demos, the Sweetgrass Mussels and Comdahee Clam dishes being made will be available for $4 per serving
- Food will be offered for purchase from the following vendors:
- Food Trucks: MacDaddy, Dukes BBQ, BlackJack Barbeque, Ben & Jerry’s
- Restaurant Row Booth: Charleston Festival Foods, Sticky Fingers, Burtons Grill, Gilligan’s Seafood Restaurant, Wild Wing Café, Zeus, Red’s Ice House, Tavern & Table, A Dough Rei Me, Hyman’s Seafood
- Sweet Treats Booth: S&D Coffee, Wando High, Memminger Elementary
What to Wear:
The current weather forecast calls for 65 degrees and sunshine, ideal for light layers of clothing. Boots are recommended as the Festival grounds can be muddy in areas. Oyster gloves and shuckers will be provided at the event, but attendees are welcome to bring their own.
Where to Park:
Parking will be quick and easy, with a shuttle service available at two pick-up/drop-off locations. The shuttle will run every 30 minutes, making stops at the following off-site locations:
- South Carolina Aquarium trolley stop – 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston, SC 29403
- MUSC Health East Cooper – 1600 Midtown Avenue, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
There are two entrances into the Festival: the main Boone Hall entrance off Long Point Road and the entrance off Highway 17. Boone Hall Plantation is located at 1235 Longpoint Road, Mount Pleasant, SC, 29464.
For the Kids:
New to the Oyster Festival this year, the Children’s Pluff-a-Palooza center will celebrate the natural wonders of the Lowcountry with four live theatre performances of “Pearlie the Amazing Oyster,” Bubba the Lowcountry Bubble Man, an electronic bull, bounce houses, face painting stations, cookie decorating, puppets, giant live dinosaurs and more.
VIP tickets are $100 and include access to the VIP lane at the entry gate and VIP tent admission where guests can enjoy complimentary food, steamed oysters, beer, wine and Pepsi products. Food is catered by Charleston Hospitality Group.
Other Fun Facts:
The Lowcountry Oyster Festival runs from 10 am – 5 pm on January 31, 2016. General admission tickets are $17.50 in advance/$25 day of the event. Children ten and under are free with paying adult. You can purchase Oyster Festival tickets online.
The Lowcountry Oyster Festival is a charity fundraiser benefiting The Ronald McDonald House, Hollings Cancer Center, Shriners Hospitals for Children and Charleston County Schools Science Materials Resource Center. Additionally, the Department of Natural Resources partners with the Coastal Conservation Association’s Topwater Action Campaign to recycle and restore the oyster shells.
The festival is a rain or shine event. No pets or coolers allowed.