With summer in full swing, seafood lovers on the Barrier Island are already enjoying all the freshly caught fish they can get their hands on. But even after summer ends, locals in and outside of Long Beach will be able to sample tasty shellfish by the truck — or, shuck — load.
The annual Long Beach Oyster Fest returns this fall for its fourth year, offering a wide variety of oysters sourced directly from local waters. The festival kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 14, from 3 to 6 p.m. at The Beach House on West Beech Street.
The event is organized each year by Terence Mulligan, a West End resident who also hosts the annual Wee Craic Festival, a showcase of Irish short films and music. He has also organized oyster-centric festivals in both Rockaway and Brooklyn, N.Y.
Offerings at the festival will be anything but “shellfish.” Thousands of oysters displayed on mounds of ice will leave guests shell-shocked as they arrive. Mulligan said this year’s oysters will come from three local purveyors: Blue Island Oysters, Greenport Oyster Company and Peconic Gold Oysters, Inc.
Renowned Long Beach musician Jahstix will provide a fun mix of reggae, funk, soul and rock to keep the good vibes flowing, and a bevy of locally handcrafted brews will be on tap to accompany the food.
The venue is expected to kick the event up a notch, as well. Since The Beach House is located just steps away from the surf, festivalgoers can enjoy their oysters beachside, play a game of volleyball or visit other coastal bars and restaurants after they’ve slurped their fill.
“Having an oyster fest with a beach vibe will bring it on another level,” Mulligan says. “It’s a great move for us to accommodate people from the east and the west.”
As tradition with past festivals, Mulligan will partner with CORE — the Community Oyster Restoration Effort, based in Lido Beach — to collect used shells from the event. The shells will be used to rebuild oyster reefs around Long Island.
“It’s almost a zero-waste event,” Mulligan says, “so it’s not only good for us but for the city and the eco-conscious people that live here.”
The 4th annual Long Beach Oyster Fest is expected to draw nearly 400 people to what Mulligan calls the “holy trinity” of festivals, offering oysters, great beer and good music.
For event and ticket information, visit Facebook or Eventbrite @LongBeachNYOysterFest.