"The show will go on" at the Wellfleet OysterFest, according to a statement issued today by Michele Insley, Executive Director of Wellfleet Shellfish Promotion and Tasting.
Due to a public health concern with shellfish in Wellfleet's harbor - and in response to a closure issued by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (Mass. DMF) - SPAT has decided not to serve any raw shellfish at this year's festival. The closure is not related to recent closures due to "ASP" nor is it Vibrio-related. The annual Shuck Off will go on with oysters sourced from outside, open shellfish areas.
"Public safety has always been our top priority, whether it be in crowd management or health issues," says Wellfleet SPAT board member Alex Hay, who is also an owner of Wellfleet Shellfish Company, which chills and certifies all raw shellfish served at the festival following state regulations. "Not only is public safety our main concern, it is also in the seafood industry's best interest, the town's best interest and the Wellfleet brand's best interest."
"This is just one year of the 'Fest and what we care about most is running a safe and fun festival," says Michele Insley, executive director SPAT. "We also value the long-term sustainability of our town's second highest revenue producer, shellfishing, so we are erring on the side of caution."
While the OysterFest is famous for its namesake bivalve, food vendors at the event are dishing out a lot of other tasty treats. Try conch fritters, pumpkin bisque, fish tacos, roasted sweet corn, savory crepes, steamed mussels and even barbecue.
Attendees can also enjoy stunning range of arts and crafts, groove to live music by local performers, sip New England-made beers and wines and improve their knowledge through educational talks, panel discussions and film screenings presented by top experts in the marine sciences on current research and issues that affect our environment. And of course, the OysterFest's most popular event, the Shuck Off contest, will go on as planned with the preliminary round on Saturday and the final on Sunday, both are at 1 p.m. Oysters from other towns that are open will be used.