How Do You Kill An Oyster? Tickle It To Death With Your Tongue! Oysterfest Returns to San Diego for its 4th Installment

June 18, 2013

Saturday, June 15th was another gloriously-epic, sunny San Diego day at the Embarcadero Marina Park for San Diego's Fourth Annual Oysterfest.  Throngs of people flocked to this beautiful bayside locale to imbibe, indulge and rock out...and that they did.  Oyster's were shucked, sucked and swallowed as musicians enticed the crowd with sweet rhythms.  Another lively day by the bay!

Unlike last year where the line up was instrument-heavy, this year it more or less several DJs that took the stage prior to the main event - Mayer Hawthorne.  Our crew concurred that techno/dub/electronica and the limitations of a DJ 'show' felt slightly conflicting with the setting and nature of stage-dominant daytime food-focused festival, BUT the good vibes emanated throughout the Embarcadero regardless, and crunchy beats admittedly lured much of the crowd to their dancing feet.  Positive spirits indeed seemed to prevail, making for fast friends and a harmonious atmosphere.

Tyrone Wells played a nice set mid-afternoon.
Beer and cocktail vendors were dispersed throughout the lawn.  The VIP area was packed and appeared to run smoothly (although Facebook comments tell another tale), but again this year SanDiegoVille hung out backstage, rubbing elbows with the musicians and hobnobbing with the vivacious event co-sponsor, Myles O'Reilly who provided us with a provocative quote – which we would have transcribed precisely if not for the million Goose Island Honker Ales (and a three-coat-thick Irish accent) – that essentially boiled down to: 'You are what you eat so eat well.'  Sounds like a plan!

Another marked distinction from years prior, the 4th Annual Oysterfest focused on honoring the troubled oyster farming industry in California, rather than offering an additional plethora of popular local restaurant vendors as they have in years past.  Contributory to this Oysterfest food priority shift is the U.S. Interior Secretary's efforts to shut down more than a century of shellfish harvesting on the picturesque inlet of NorCal, Pt. Reyes.  Drakes Bay Oyster Company, a family- owned farm and one of California's leading producers of shellfish, was the last oyster cannery operating in California to be shut down, leaving lovers of this backyard delicacy frustrated, angry and disheartened, and a hearty legal battle ensuing.  (More info on local oyster-farming struggles here).

Despite such trials and tribulations and a fervent fight to maintain their oyster operation, Drakes, Carlsbadt Oysters and others served up fresh raw oysters by the dozen to delighted festival goers (including our favorite type - Kumamotos!).  And while we missed the representation from San Diego's local restaurants that fed the masses the last three years, we appreciated Oysterfest staying true to its name and seeking to honor those delicious little aphrodisiacs.

Next year we hope to see a revival of the live band and local restaurant scene, but the vibe at Oysterfest continues to improve each year.  Mark your calendars for next year, and follow Oysterfest SD on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on the event.