One of the best times of year for being on Hilton Head is practically upon us. Brisk mornings warmed by sunshiny blue skies and low humidity make it great weather for driving with the windows rolled down, taking a leisurely bike ride and devising fabulous ways to prepare our fabulously briny South Carolina oysters!
There is just so much going on at this time of year – time for football, festivals, southern barbeque and of course, the opening of the Hilton Head Island oyster season along the coast. I’m talking bi-valve utopia here, people! So let’s crack on, shall we?
Oyster season in South Carolina actually begins in September as it is an “R” month and runs through April. Well, give or take a few weeks, as the SC Department of Natural Resources keeps a keen eye on the water conditions like temperature and salinity, just the particulars that make our Lowcountry oysters some of the most tasty and sought-after in the world. The water must be pristine and cool – nothing but the best for our oysters!
For those of us who are initiated into the art of the oyster roast, it doesn’t take much to get us to the shucking table, but add in a cause close to the community’s heart and you’ve got yourself a celebration!
The Island Recreation Center is right on time again this year with three days of shell-fish splendor at the Hilton Head Island Oyster Festival, Nov. 8, 9 and 10 at the Shelter Cove Community Park. Island Rec and presenting sponsor South Carolina Bank & Trust, have organized the perfect set up for a true oyster-fest with buckets of local cluster-style oysters and regionally harvested “oyster singles” ready for your shuckin’ and slurpin’ enjoyment – provided by local seafood authority, Captain Woody’s Bar and Grill.
The fun and foodie fare includes steamed, grilled and fried oysters plus hot dogs, chili, marshmallow roasting and more! There will be a Kid Zone (Bouncy houses and carnival games help to wear off that marshmallow infused sugar rush!) plus arts, crafts and live
music! All event proceeds go directly to the Island Recreation Association’s Children’s scholarship fund which insures that “no child is denied” recreational opportunities in our community.
There is a nominal admission charge of $5 per person (with children 12 and under being free) for the Festival. And if the thought of salty succulent oysters freshly plucked from the sea isn’t enough to get you in the festival mood, then add two dozen 25 arts and crafts vendors AND a silent auction chocked full of fabulous finds like rounds of golf, restaurant gift certificates and local art. I also heard there’ll be gumbo and local shrimp a plenty to be found at the Festival. All food and beverages are sold separately, but I do know that buckets of those tasty oysters are just $12!
In addition to the Oyster Festival, Hilton Head hosts several other foodie-centric festivals and events during the fall. If you are gracing our ‘isle and the surrounding area check these out!
29th Annual Rib Chili Cookoff hosted by The Kiwanis Club of Hilton Head Island
October 12, 2013
12 Noon – 4 pm rain or shine
At the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn
Restaurant and amateur cooks duke it out to receive the nod as “Island’s Best Chili” plus entertainment by local favorite, The Chilly Willy Band.
Polo for Charity hosted by the Rotary Club of Okatie
October 13, 2013
Gates open at 12 noon and matches start at 2 pm
At the historic Rose Hill Plantation, Bluffton
Billed as Bluffton’s largest picnic so pack a fabulous basket, don a proper chapeau and tailgate like royalty!
October 19 & 20, 2013
Historic Old Town Bluffton
10 am – 5 pm
Local seafood and lowcountry cuisine served by area restaurants plus a juried art show (over 100 participants), educational exhibits and more!
The Details: Hilton Head Oyster Festival
Shelter Cove Community Park
Friday, Nov. 8: 5:00 pm – 8 pm “Friday Night Concert”
Saturday, Nov. 9: 11 am – 5 pm
Sunday, Nov. 10: 11 am – 5 pm