A Feast for the Senses: OysterFest at Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

As the autumn air sweeps through the historic waterfront town of St. Michaels, Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) prepares for its annual culinary extravaganza: OysterFest on October 28th. The event promises a day of indulgence in the finest, freshest oysters and local fare, and CBMM has a host of new offerings to visitors, including the acquisition of the iconic cruise boat PATRIOT.

One of the highlights of OysterFest is the unparalleled freshness of the oysters. Often harvested from the Chesapeake Bay that very morning, these succulent bivalves showcase the region’s rich maritime heritage. Whether enjoyed raw on the half shell or expertly prepared in a variety of tasty dishes, the oysters at OysterFest are a testament to the museum’s commitment to celebrating the Bay’s bounty.

Beyond oysters, OysterFest offers an array of Chesapeake delicacies and local food vendors. From freshly caught seafood to specialty cocktails and craft beers, there’s something to satisfy every palate. The oyster stew competition, a perennial favorite, invites guests to sample creations from local restaurants and cast their vote for the finest rendition.

OysterFest is not just a feast for the taste buds; it’s an opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich cultural tapestry of the Chesapeake Bay region. Engage with guest speakers at the Van Lennep Auditorium, sponsored by the Upper Shore Regional Folklife Center, and gain insights into the ever-changing Chesapeake landscape.

For families, there’s a plethora of Bay-themed activities, including games, model boat building, and captivating storytime sessions. The American Chesapeake Club showcases the official state dog, the Chesapeake Bay retriever, while the 100 Hundred Shores Project offers a unique opportunity to create personalized shirts using water from the Miles River.

This year, CBMM enthusiasts have more to look forward to as the museum unveils its expanded offerings. The acquisition of the Patriot, a 65-foot, two-level vessel modeled after a Chesapeake Bay steamboat, opens up new avenues for visitors to explore the beauty of the Miles River. This historic boat, a fixture at the museum’s waterfront since 1990, will continue to provide scenic cruises under the capable hands of the existing staff.

Later this year, CBMM will introduce the new Welcome Center, offering visitors a first look at the museum’s latest addition. Overlooking Fogg’s Cove, the center will provide a delightful shopping experience at the Museum Store, plus an exhibition space showcasing some of the more delicate and unique vessels from the museum’s storage. Attendees of the OysterFest will “enter through the Welcome Center and get a sneak peak,” said Eric Detweiler, communications specialist for the museum. 

“We are excited for a busy fall at CBMM,” Vice President of Engagement Shannon Mitchell said. “With annual favorites like OysterFest and the Holiday Edition of the Eastern Shore Sea Glass & Coastal Arts Festival coming up and our new Welcome Center starting to greet guests, it’s a great time to plan a visit. We look forward to sharing all these events and more with the community over the coming months.”

OysterFest at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is more than a culinary event; it’s a celebration of the rich maritime heritage and vibrant culture of the Chesapeake Bay region. With the addition of the Patriot, the expansion of the museum’s facilities, and an array of engaging activities, this year’s OysterFest promises an experience that will leave a lasting impression on all who attend. Come to CBMM on October 28th for a day of fresh oysters, delectable cuisine, and enriching cultural encounters on the scenic shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

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