This year at the Oyster Festival, adults can wash down their shellfish with … beer. The long-dry event, to be held Oct. 19 and 20 at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay, will feature Blue Point Brewery beers with the Patchogue-based company as its title sponsor for the next two years. This marks the first time alcohol will be served at the festival since the Oyster Bay Rotary took over running the iconic annual event 20 years ago.
“I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the most magnificent festival on Long Island,” says Mark Burford, co-founder and president of the Patchogue-based brewery, at a news conference Monday.
Six types of Blue Point beer (from Toasted Lager to Pumpkin Ale to Oyster Fest IPA) will be on tap at The Blue Point Beer Garden, a tented area overlooking Oyster Bay Harbor. Patrons 21 and older must present a valid driver’s license as proof of age and wear a wristband upon entry. Beer will be sold in 16-ounce cups, with yet-to-be-determined limitations on how much can be purchased, officials note.
“Blue Point is coming in as a prime sponsor and willing to put up a significant outlet of cash that the Oyster Festival needs to go forward,” says Oyster Bay Rotary president and former state Sen. Carl Marcellino. “They are a responsible group who will handle the beer tent well.”
Earlier this month, Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino held a news conference asking local residents and businesses to help sponsor the festival, which draws more than 150,000 people each year. The town waived its annual $20,000 sanitation fee to help cut the costs and several other sponsors came forward to contribute to the event.
As for stepped-up festival security, “we will be on alert,” Marcellino said, in the wake of the mass shooting at the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, this summer and the alleged groping of minors at the Mineola Street Fair last weekend. “We’ve been working with both the Nassau County Police Department and the Town of Oyster Bay’s Public Safety Patrol. I think it will be safe and secure.”
Other additions to this year's festival include the tall ship Santa Maria, which will be at the dock for tours and photo ops.