Say the words “Oyster Festival” and Long Islanders start to salivate. This weekend’s event is expected to draw more than 150,000 people to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park. With 40 food booths to choose from, it’s tough to decide where to start.
Here’s a taste of some homemade favorites off the menu from local nonprofit organizations:
MADE BY U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary – Oyster Bay Flotilla 22-5
Those seeking a hearty sandwich need look no further than the oyster po’boy: lightly battered deep-fried oysters on a soft bakery hero with Cajun coleslaw and sliced pickles.
“It’s got a hot salty crunch with a heat kick,” says vice commander Valerie Elefonte. “You don’t need condiments. It’s got enough flavors going on.”
ALSO SERVES Yuca fries ($5), cheese or pumpkin ravioli ($10), chicken dumplings ($5), egg rolls (two for $5) and cannolis (two for $5).
CLAMS ON THE HALF SHELL, STEAMED CLAMS, LOBSTER DINNER
MADE BY North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association
PRICE $15 for a dozen clams on the half shell or steamed, $20 for a 1 1⁄2 pound lobster dinner.
No one knows shellfish like the baymen who spend their days working on Oyster Bay Harbor. They go through some 36,000 clams and 2,400 pounds of lobster over the course of the weekend.
“The people who are serving the clams are the people who are digging them,” says senior bayman Bill Fetzer. “We take a lot of pride in giving the best product to the public.”
ALSO SERVES Mussels in a white wine sauce ($15)
MADE BY Mill River Rod & Gun Club
PRICE $10 per boat
With six grills all fired up simultaneously, Mill River Rod & Gun Club has been serving this popular dish since the early days of the festival. The key is freshness.
“Nothing is pre-made. Everything is done at the booth,” says booth chairman Kenny Warren. “We can’t get them off the grill fast enough. People buy 10 orders at a time.”
EMPANADAS & TACOS
MADE BY Centro Cultural Hispano de Oyster Bay-East Norwich
PRICE $7 empanadas, $10 two tacos
Not a seafood fan? Enjoy authentic dishes made by members of the Centro Cultural Hispano, who use their family recipes from Colombia, El Salvador and Mexico.
“We put a lot of love in our food,” says executive director Luz Torres. “Everything is made from scratch.”
ALSO SERVES $7 two pupusas, $8 two tostadas with guacamole
MADE BY The Oyster Bay Lions Club
PRICE $8 per cup, $22 per quart
There’s nothing like enjoying a hot cup of oyster stew made with a secret recipe stemming back to old-school Oyster Bay restaurant Uwe’s.
“It’s very rich and has a lot of flavor,” says booth chairman Michael Corssen. “If you like oysters, it’s a must.”
ALSO SERVES Kielbasa sandwiches ($8), roasted corn ($4) and pierogies ($8).
The Oyster Festival
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 14-15, at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park, West End Avenue, Oyster Bay. Rain or shine.
INFO 516-628-1625, theoysterfestival.org
GETTING THERE Take the LIRR to Oyster Bay (the stop is at the festival’s entrance) – or Syosset, where passengers will be shuttled to the festival site. There are five other designated parking lots nearby that will also have shuttle bus service.
After getting your fill at the festival’s food court, check out these activities:
MUSIC The Main Stage features tribute bands to Bruce Springsteen (12:30 p.m. Saturday), the Beatles (3 p.m. Saturday), the Grateful Dead/Allman Brothers (4:15 p.m. Saturday), the Beach Boys (noon Sunday) and Tom Petty (1 p.m. Sunday). DJ Theo will pump up the volume and drop the bass at the West End Avenue Stage (4:30 p.m. Sunday)
CONTESTS Oyster eating and shucking contest on West End Avenue Stage (2 p.m. Saturday)
KIDS The Kings of the Coast will hold a pirate show and treasure hunt on the western waterfront. (12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday)