The third annual Halifax Oyster Festival happens on the Halifax Waterfront from September 28 through September 30, offering a fun atmosphere for the public to enjoy a wide variety of some of the best oysters in the world.
Oysterfest is bringing 20 different oyster producers together in the giant festival tent on the Salter Block in downtown Halifax — the largest gathering of oyster “sea farmers” in Canada — giving attendees a chance to taste, compare and enjoy the range of oysters being produced in Atlantic Canada.
“Last year’s Oyster Fest was great,” says David McMillian, the celebrity chef and co-owner of Montreal’s Joe Beef, which has been named one of the world’s best restaurants. “The festival is well organized, it attracts great people and it’s centrally located in the heart of Halifax. I met great people, discovered new products and made new friends.”
The first event of Oysterfest 2017 is the PEARL JAM, an intimate oyster-and-cocktail tasting session hosted by current Canadian Oyster Shucking champion Eamon Clark, and John Bil, the Toronto restaurateur and seafood authority. Only 100 tickets are available for this VIP foodie experience, happening September 28 at 7 p.m.
“Halifax Oyster Festival is a really special event, making accessible the incredible and diverse oysters from our region. It’s a great chance to chat with sea farmers on hand and learn about the product, enjoy delicious local beverage pairings and, of course, sample amazing oysters from around our coast,” says Jennifer Angel, acting president & CEO, Waterfront Development. “Whether a first-time oyster taster or aficionado, there isn’t a better place to celebrate oysters than right here by the sea on the Halifax waterfront. We’re a proud partner.”
Friday and Saturday are devoted to a series of three-hour oyster eating sessions in the big tent. Each session can accommodate 1,000 ticket-buyers, enjoying “all you can eat” oysters from the 20 producers in a festive setting. The sea farmers are onsite, shucking oysters and happy to talk about their produce with members of the public. For unique entertainment, the Nova Scotia Oyster Shucking Championship takes place on the festival. Hosted by former Canadian Shucking Champion Daniel Notkin, there is $500 prize money going to both the amateur and professtional winner. Register to join the competition at https://oysterfest.ca/competitions/.
Oysterfest is a food lover’s paradise, as “foodies” will appreciate how the festival highlights the local food, “locavore” movement. With three different sessions to choose from, festival ticket buyers not only get to indulge in oysters, but have access to Atlantic Canada-produced wines, beer and spirits, as well as other food offerings from Halifax restaurants. The festival’s oyster producers are from Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick, with a “guest oyster” from France to give festivalgoers an international point of comparison.
“Everybody knows about Nova Scotia lobster, but Nova Scotia oysters are still a bit of a hidden gem,” says Oyster Festival founder Christine Oreskovich. “The festival is a chance for people to see, and taste, the incredibly high quality of local oysters. People are blown away by how good they are — and then they keep looking for local oysters on menus and stores the rest of the year. That’s why the festival really is a celebration of oysters.”
Halifax Oyster Festival started in 2015, and has attracted attendees from all over the world. For more info visit: https://oysterfest.ca.
Participants at last year’s event. (Riley Smith photo)