Only a week away: Shucking champ expected at Oyster Fest

The Milford Oyster Festival, this city’s biggest event of the year, is just about a week away, and festival committee members just announced that one of the nation’s top oyster shuckers will make a special appearance at the event.

Honor Allen, the 2016 U.S. National Oyster-Shucking Champion, will be one of the shuckers at this year’s festival, competing in oyster shucking contests several times during the day. Allen had a composite score of 2:58.96 at the U.S. Championship, earning him a spot at the International Oyster-Opening Championship in Galway, Ireland, next September.

Allen, 22, was born and raised in Panama City and got his start in oyster shucking as a 12-year-old watching employees at Hunt’s Oyster Bar in Panama City. He has worked at Hunt’s, where he shucks about 1,000 oysters a shift, since he was 18. He started competing when a co-worker at Hunt’s suggested he was good enough to give it a try.

There will be a wide variety of oysters for Allen and other shuckers to shuck Aug. 19 in downtown Milford. The Milford Oyster Festival has the largest variety of oysters than any festival in the USA. This year there will be 41,000 oysters with 21 varieties from eight states on the East Coast.

There will also be 6,000 clams.

The festival’s oyster-shucking contest will take place at 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. on Oyster Festival Day, Saturday, Aug. 19, behind the Milford Public Library, and festival-goers will have a chance to see Allen and other shuckers in action.

“Having Honor Allen and several other former shucking champions at the festival confirms why it has become a nationally-recognized oyster festival,” said Ila Tokarz, Oyster Festival president.

The festival is Saturday, Aug. 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This year’s headline band is Blackberry Smoke. Opening for them is The Artimus Pyle Band and local favorites DizzyFish on the Fowler Field Main Stage.

Oyster Eve takes place downtown Friday, Aug. 18. There is a $5 cover charge to get into Oyster Eve events.

For more information visit the festival website,

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