Dispatch from SC: Aw Shucks!

Shelby’s take: My clever college girlfriends from my sophomore year at St. Andrews Presbyterian College - in rural, deep-south Laurinburg, NC - are weighing in this week on the Lowcountry Oyster Festival in Mount Pleasant, SC, which we all attended a couple weekends ago together. You hear my perspective on things all the time, so I thought it would be fun to recap this casual, celebrity chef-free food festival through their eyes. I’ve provided the photos, though they were taken from all three of our phones and captured everything from the buckets of delicious, roasted oysters to the shucking contests held at the festival. 

First up, Robin’s recap: Holy Mother of Pearl!

The Lowcountry Oyster Festival made good on every delicious promise it offered up on our Charleston “Suite 3 Reunion Tour." The oysters were muy fresh and steamed to perfection, with a succulent balance of marshy salinity and not-too-chewy chewiness. Served with a plentiful supply of saltines, cocktail sauce, and southern salt air, it was hard not to get lost in the mediocre country cover band and sense of community as everyone was shucking, without shame, right there in the open in front of God and everyone. 

The beer was cold, the bloody marys were spicy, and the tantalizing aroma of fresh seafood offered a hug to your senses like that of an old college friend. We came with our appetites and oysters knives and left blissfully satiated and full of distance-sustaining memories; ready to go again next year- you’ll have that on those big jobs. 

And now, for Katie’s view: Low Down on the Lowcountry Oyster Festival 

The oyster festival is amazing, but if you want the best experience, you better come prepared.

Katie's tips: 1. Arrive early. This shindig starts at 10 a.m., so be there by then. If you at all possible, arrive by 9 a.m. and tailgate. Seriously ya'll, this is serious stuff. If you're not there early, you'll have to park in BFE, take a tractor-drawn wagon to the entrance, and you won't get a prime spot to set up camp. Trust me, you're going to need room to set up camp and you probably want to be near the stage so you can enjoy the local musicians. 
2. Bring a chair and a fold out table. We didn't do this. We brought a chair, singular. There were three of us. Luckily, Robin thought ahead and brought one of those nice picnic blankets that fold into a bag. The table is essential to setting up your oyster shucking assembly line. We didn't have one but others did and I was extremely jealous. 
3. Bring the proper utensils and accoutrements. You gotta have an oyster knife, but don't worry if you don't own one because you can buy one at the festival. Same goes for an oyster glove. These two items will help you shuck the oysters quickly and efficiently so that you can enjoy them while they're still hot. If you don't have them, I honestly don't know how you're going to get those delicious bi-valves out of the shell. You also need to bring some hot sauce and horseradish. There's plenty of cocktail sauce and crackers provided with your buckets of oysters, but you'll have to fight over a bottle of hot sauce.

4. Purchase your souvenirs early. Seriously, if you want a shirt, a koozie, or a hat, go ahead and buy it on your way into the festival. If you don't, you'll end up going home empty-handed. They were out of the good stuff by 2 p.m. 
5. Do not come to the festival hung over. I cannot stress this enough. The thought of slurping down an oyster while struggling through a hangover turns my stomach just thinking about it. 

Moral of the story: plan ahead. We were about 75 percent prepared and we had a wonderful time. Next time, we're going to be professionals and the newbies will be jealous of our setup.

1 comment:

  1. I have never been to an oyster shucking festival (I didn't even know such a thing existed!), but now that it is on my radar, I think I MUST experience this!