New Orleans Oyster Fest becomes a tween, annoyed by parents
The briniest of bivalves make their star turn this weekend at the 10th annual New Orleans Oyster Festival June 1-2 at Woldenberg Park from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. The free festival features nearly 20 food vendors, a fun music lineup and crafts.
The stand-out events at Oyster Fest are the competitions. On Saturday, June 1 at 12 p.m., the P&J Oyster Shucking Contest takes the stage and the nation’s top shuckers will don their gloves and knives and work their magic. The title is currently held by Brian Clark of The Oyster Troff in Eustis, Florida. Clark won 2018’s contest with 20 Louisiana oysters shucked in under two minutes, tying the competition record.
The Acme Oyster Eating Contest is slated for Sunday, June 2 at 11:45 a.m. It is part of Major League Eating and recognized as the World Championship of Oyster Eating. Returning champion Darron Breeden, who competes professionally in eating contests including cheese curd, sweet corn, hot dogs and more, will defend the crown he earned in 2018 by eating 40 dozen Louisiana oysters in 8 minutes. That’s 480 oysters y’all.
For the mere mortals among us, oysters and more are available from the notable food vendors. Seriously, bring your appetites and friends to share the dishes with you because this food festival offers inventive recipes showcasing Louisiana seafood. Here are my picks from each vendor. You can see their full event menus online.
Acme Oyster House – Oyster Remoulade
Ajun Cajun – Soft Shell Crab Po-Boy (or the Yakiniku Po-Boy for the beef eaters)
Andrea’s – Crabmeat Ravioli
Borgne – Fried Oyster Bloody Mary Shooter
Cafe Dauphine – Oysters En Brochette (fried bacon wrapped oysters)
Creole Country Café – Loaded Seafood Potato
Desire Oyster Bar – Bread Pudding
Drago’s – ½ Dozen Charbroiled Oysters
Felix’s – ½ Dozen Raw Oysters
Food Drunk – Louisiana Crab and Crawfish Mac and Cheese
Gris Gris – Oyster BLT
Jacques-Imo’s Café – Oyster Dressing Stuffed Mushrooms
Jazzy Keto – Cauliflower-Mash Vegan Veggie Bowl (if you must)
NOLA Snow Snoballs – Any Flavor Snoball
Oceana Restaurant – Oyster Rockefeller Po-Boy
Red Fish Grill – BBQ Oyster Po-Boy
Royal House Oyster Bar – Fried Gulf Fish Beignets
Superior Seafood – Crawfish Boiled Oysters
Voleo’s Seafood Restaurant – Cajun Surf & Turf (smothered rabbit po-boy topped with fried oysters)
If you want to learn to make some of those recipes for yourself, cooking demonstrations are scheduled on a separate stage from the main stage on both days. Saturday will feature demonstrations by Felix’s, Delgado Community College Culinary Arts Program and Gris Gris. On Sunday, the demonstrations will include Desire, UNO School of Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism and Andrea’s.
The music lineup is another win for the Oyster Fest. On Saturday, performances are scheduled with Shamarr Allen & The Underdawgs, Maggie Koerner, Cha Wa, Feufollet, Remedy, Free Agents Brass Band and Phoenix Brass Band. Sunday features Bag of Donuts, Brass-A-Holics, Bucktown Allstars, Amanda Shaw, Betty Winn & One-A-Chord, Young Pin Stripe Brass Band and All For One Brass Band. Music is planned on both stages, so check the full lineup for times and locations.