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U.S. Oyster Festival
October 15, 2022 @ 10:00 am
This festival is one of the Eastern seaboards’ leading regional folk festivals. Good food, quality entertainment and two nationally recognized contests are the elements that attract visitors from across the country each year. The festival showcases the opening of the oyster season on the Chesapeake Bay and celebrates the tradition of men & women making their living working the waters of the Chesapeake and its tributaries. Though the main focus of the Festival is on oysters there is plenty of other traditional festival fare to choose from. The Tasting Room, which was introduced in 2015, gives the public the chance to sample the difference between the various farm-raised and wild-caught oysters that are available in St. Mary’s County. It also includes a variety of local craft beer. National and regional bands provide continuous musical entertainment throughout the day, on two different stages, and there are a number of other activities on the grounds as well. Over 100 craft vendors and home business vendors will be on hand offering their wares all day both days. The National Oyster Shucking Championship Contest will be held both days with champions from all over the country competing. To close out the event, the woman finalist battles the male finalist for the grand prize: cash, the U.S. Oyster Shucking Champion crown, and a trip to represent the United States in the International Oyster Shucking Championships held in Galway, Ireland. The National Oyster Cook-Off, held on Saturday, features 9 finalists from across the country who compete for prizes in three fresh-oyster cooking categories — main dish, hors d’oeuvres, and soups and stews. The public can watch the competitors prepare their dishes, sample them, and cast their vote for the coveted People’s Choice award. The top recipe submissions – over and above the 9 chosen for the competition – are compiled annually into an Oyster Festival Cookbook, which is available for sale at the Festival. The fairgrounds in Leonardtown have ample FREE parking.