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Oyster Fest 26 Goes High Tech October 17 and 18: Fun Returns

The Western Waterfront Goes Western!

Here it comes again! The largest waterfront festival on the East Coast – with over 200,000 visitors: the 26th annual Oyster Festival to be held Oct. 17 and 18 is using the tools of the Internet – Twitter and Facebook. The fun was announced at a sneak-peek press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Cindy Smith, Oyster Festival promoter and President of ImageQuest Communications whose specialty is fusing public relations with special events, announced that the Oyster Festival is adding some “social media” to the event. By social media she means Twitter and Facebook. She has arranged for a free hookup with Twitter for the festival. It will allow the committee to send out instant announcements at the Oct. 17 and 18 events to festival goers. “We can make announcements about what is going on at what entertainment stage; where there is still parking available; and about contests going on, among other news,” she said.

Most interesting, she said, “The social media is kind of cool. We have been there for three weeks and we already have 700 fans of the Oyster Festival checking it out. It has an interactive conversation board and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. People are telling about what they like at the festival. It’s another way to promote the festival and it proves that it has a life of its own.”

“The Oyster Festival is a great economic driver for the town,” said Paul Rosen, festival co-chairman. “Many guests come to the Festival and experience the village, the waterfront, its great vibe and historical offerings for the first time.”

Oyster Fest Means Self Support

For the Oyster Bay-East Norwich nonprofits which service the Festival’s iconic food court, the annual event is a key means of self-support and continuation of services for local residents. Throughout the weekend, hundreds of administrators, employees and volunteers roll up their sleeves, cooking and serving several tons of foodstuffs. “For many of the nonprofit organizations, the Oyster Festival makes up shortfalls in their operating budgets,” said Beverly Zembko, chairperson of the food court. “Without the monies they raise at Oyster Festival, some would go out of business.” Zembko estimates local organizations serving social, cultural and educational needs raise $200,000 to $250,000 through their own hard work.

Take the Train

This year there will be new mass transit options from the east and west on the LIRR. The Long Island Rail Road offers special excursion fare from Penn Station, Brooklyn and Jamaica. For 2009 – the service has widened to include usual service points to the west and now from the east on the Port Jefferson branch. Ticket price includes a ticket for three free oysters. Depending on the branch used, guests will be taken to the Oyster Bay station or the Syosset train station for a special Festival Express bus.

Do You Twitter?

This year the Oyster Festival is going social joining the new media on the block and learning about its Fans and Tweets. Sign up for a free Twitter account and follow The Oyster Festival over your cell phone or laptop. They’ll be tweeting updates every day of the Festival describing entertainment news, transportation advisories and special offers from sponsors.

“If you’re on Facebook become an Oyster Festival fan. We’ll be posting the new entertainment acts, travel plans, food court offerings and more,” said Ms. Smith. You will find the Oyster Festival at: Twitter: @TheOysterFest; and at Facebook: The Oyster Festival – Oyster Bay.

Entertaining Dogs

Once again you can look forward to seeing the Airdogs featuring nationally-known canine athletes and cartoon character dog Scooby Doo. Dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds compete in dock leaping, long-distance diving and the famous “Splash” competition. Check out “Ultimate Vertical” as the competitors outdo each other to leap the highest. Presented by Optimum,

Western Waterfront Goes Western!

Stop by the Verizon West End Avenue stage on your way down to the Western waterfront for great entertainment for the entire family: Chris McDaniel and his One-man Wild West Show will present rope tricks, bullwhip artistry and frontier magic.

The Home Grown String Band brings you American roots music from Appalachia and beyond: fiddle tunes, reels, old-times and more from this Long Island family of talented musicians. And dancers - don’t miss their demonstration of flat-shoe dancing.

See the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary Birds-of-Prey Demonstration Show. Meet the carnivorous birds that rule the sky. Learn to identify the raptors, hawks, owls and falcons atop the food chain as they sweep overhead in search of prey.

Once Again

Once again have fresh oysters and enjoy the Oyster Eating and Shucking contest. Once again there will be a Whole Foods and Best of the Food Court Contest. Once again there will be new tall ships and naval vessels. Once again there will be the exotic animals tent.

Welcome the Tugboat Cornell

The Tugboat Cornell was built at Jakobson Shipyard here in Oyster Bay some 50 years ago, among many vessels built for military and commercial use. Half a century later the Cornell, repainted in its original colors, returns to the waterfront where she was designed and constructed.

See the tall ship Clipper City! This gorgeous square-rigger will be on display and open for tours!. And while you are here, don’t miss the USS Growler and USS Liberator from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point.

Pirates Return

The ever-popular Pirates Cove returns to the waterfront featuring buccaneer encampments, live demonstrations and an interactive treasure hunt the kids will love. Shows twice daily. Hosted by Tutor Time.

Visit the Food Court

Over 30 food court vendors, more than ever before, offer snacks and local favorites: stewed oysters, fried clams, seafood chowder, bivalves on the half shell, “secret” sausage, Oyster Bay apple pie and much more. Festival regulars have debated which is best for decades. Cast your vote for Best of the Food Court contest sponsored by Whole Foods Markets.

All the World’s a Stage

And they’ve added more. In addition to the main stage at the food court, you’ll find another stage featuring great local talent putting on quite a show.

Christmas in October

It feels like Christmas in October when 140 artisans and crafters from around the country fill the Arts and Crafts Pavilion. You’ll find art glass, hand crafted jewelry, handmade candles, artesian soaps, paintings, woodcrafts, hand-blown and much more.

The Best of the Rest

Returning this year are such popular events as the Supervisor’s 5K run, live bands, kids activity area, antique show and of course the 26th Annual Oyster Eating and Shucking contest held Saturday 2 p.m..

Worth Your While

Organized and operated by the Oyster Bay Rotary, the festival has generated over $5 million for local humanitarian causes and nonprofit organizations throughout its history. Currently, revenues from the event help fund approximately 40 non-profit organizations in the Town of Oyster Bay.

About the Oyster Festival

The Oyster Festival is an annual celebration of the community’s most precious asset – the oyster. Each year approximately 200,000 visitors from throughout the tri-state area make the pilgrimage to the beautiful and historic village of Oyster Bay, New York for family fun, food and festivities under the auspices of the Oyster Bay Rotary.

This year’s Oyster Festival celebrates its 26th Anniversary, and will host a variety of culinary, entertainment and shopping features, including an exotic petting zoo, interactive pirate treasure hunt, best of the food court contest and more. Proceeds from the event assist approximately 30 community non-profit organizations.

For more information log onto TheOysterFestival.org.