Make someone (and a lot of kids) happy – eat an oyster at the Hilton Head Island Oyster Festival!

No matter if you prefer your oysters as clusters or ‘singles’ like you see here you can get your fill at the annual Hilton Head Island Oyster Festival!

Over the many summer trips to our local Hilton Head Island beaches my 5–year old daughter and I go on “sheshell” hunting adventures. It is as gratifying for me to witness her bubbling enthusiasm and wonderstruck awe in every newly found object, as it is for her in the moment of discovery. Our bucket full, we head home to examine our treasure, one by one we inspect them all, exclaiming the best quality of each. “This is beautiful Mommy, look how it is shaped like a heart!” or “This one is purple inside, purple is my favorite color!”

It does not surprise me to find that most of our collection is oyster shells, of countless shapes and color ranges. I stopped pointing out that most of the shells we see are “just oyster shells” two summers ago. To my daughter it doesn’t matter that they are numerous, because to her, each one is unique. I like that premise and I like that she appreciates oyster shells and that even at the tender age of 5 (no 4!) she scarfed down a dozen small

Big fun for kids and lots of oysters for all, at this event.

steamed oysters we roasted at home last winter.

Enough to make a Lowcountry mom and foodie proud! And enough to make me hungry and eager to taste this season’s oyster harvest now that the “R” months are upon us. Luckily the Island Recreation Center is right on time this coming weekend with three days of bi-valve splendor at the Hilton Head Island Oyster Festival. Island Rec and title 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 traditional southern oyster roast set up with saw horse table (hole in the center with trash can beneath to catch the shells) and piles of fresh oysters – the only thing missing is YOU!

The fun continues on Saturday, Nov. 10 and Sunday, Nov. 11 with more oysters (and shrimp, grilled chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc for those non-oyster eaters), plus big screen video for all those football fanatics out there. Of course no party can get started without live music and Oyster Festival again keeps it rockin’ with local favorites Bobby Ryder, OCD Band, Matt MacKelcan, Twistedlegs and Big B & the Stingers.

And lest anyone thinks the kids will be bored – think again as the “kid zone” will offer all manner of energy sapping activities like moon bounces, carnival games, prizes and more from Jumpin Jaxx. Kids are very welcome at the Oyster Festival and

This festival is great for tasting all kinds of oyster sensations, like these grilled oysters. Shrimp and seafood delights like gumbo are also on the menu at the festival.

rightfully so, as the underlying purpose of the festival is all about them!

The Hilton Head Island Rec Center is a place for all children to play team sports, make friends and in plain and simple terms “be a kid”. It is in this spirit that the Island Recreation Association’s Children’s scholarship fund insures that “no child is denied” recreation opportunities. All proceeds from Oyster Festival benefit this scholarship fund. There is a nominal admission charge of $5 per person (with children 12 and under being free) for the Festival. All food and beverages are sold separately.

And if the thought of briny succulent oysters freshly plucked from the sea isn’t enough to get you in the festival mood, then add 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 fried oysters a plenty to be found at the festival. So there’s nary a reason to not make someone happy… eat an oyster!

Festival Details: Hilton Head Oyster Festival to benefit the Island Recreation Center

Location: Shelter Cove Community Park

Dates & Times:

  • Friday, Nov. 9: 4:30 pm – 9 pm
  • Saturday, Nov. 10: 11 am – 5 pm
  • Sunday, Nov. 11: 11 am – 5 pm