Shelter Island Historical Society hosts 2nd annual Oyster Festival

Credit: northforker file photo

Credit: northforker file photo

The Shelter Island Historical Society will host its second annual Oyster Festival on Saturday, October 17 in the Havens Barn.

The event is part festival, part educational exhibit, according to the historical society’s executive director Nanette Breiner-Lawrenson.

“We wanted to do an oyster event about the history of the Shelter Island Oyster Company and we added the science part by bringing in the Nature Conservancy,” she explained.

Oysters, once a thriving industry on Shelter Island, were the bread and butter of the Shelter Island Oyster Factory, which operated on the shores of Dering Harbor until it closed in the 1950s. The Historical Society’s Oyster Festival is a way to educate the public about the bivalve’s past while trying to improve it’s future.

“This year’s theme is Tools of the Trade,” Breiner-Lawrenson said. “This has been a livelihood for many people on the East End for a long time.”

Educational exhibits on everything from the biology of the oyster, the history of oyster farming, to how to regenerate them will be provided by several exhibitors including The Nature Conservancy and the Cornell Cooperative Extension SPAT program.

Edible oysters will be provided by Alice’s Fish Market in Greenport. Other foods, plus beer and wines will be provided by Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, Sparkling Pointe Vineyard and Shinn Estate Vineyards.

“Last year was the first year that we did this and we expected like 60 people, but we got 210,” Breiner-Lawrenson said. “We highly recommend that people R.S.V.P. soon because we sell out and have a capacity limit for the barn.”

The festival runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and tickets are $40 per person. Music will be provided by Lisa Shaw and Tom Hashagan. There will also be a silent auction, raffle and a photo booth. All proceeds will go to the Shelter Island Historical Society.

“It’s great fun for all ages,” Breiner-Lawrenson said. “Last year our youngest guest was seven years old and our oldest was in her 90s. It’s fun and you have an opportunity to learn things as well. Last year two of our guests have since started growing oysters in the waters off their own docks.”

Learning will not stop once the festival is over either. The historical society plans to hold the exhibits for two weeks and invite local schools to come out to see it.

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The Shelter Island Historical Society is located at 16 S. Ferry Road, Shelter Island.