Eating contests, children’s stage back at Milford Oyster Festival

MILFORD — It’s a return to normal for the 48th annual Milford Oyster Festival.

COVID restrictions are mainly lifted, allowing event organizers to announce the return of the children’s stage, amusement rides and the popular oyster eating contest to the event, which is set for Aug. 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The festival features a performance by Scott Stapp, best known as the lead for the rock band, Creed.

Michele Dibella, the event’s publicity chair, said organizers received word from the city’s health department that the children’s festival could return.

“Hopefully, we will be able to carry on as we have in years past,” she said.

On the children’s stage, Al DeCant and Jim Olden Children’s Music will be performing from 11 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. Irish dancing from 11:45 a.m. to noon, and Rose Studios music and entertainment from noon to 12:45 p.m. Student performances will run from 12:25 p.m. through 4:15 p.m., including the Carol Farrell Dancers and Danny Magic.

This year the amusement rides also return on Oyster Eve and at the festival, with unlimited ride wrist bands on Oyster Eve, DiBella said.

And the festival’s namesake delicacy will also return with various contests.

“The oyster shucking contest will host shuckers from across the country, including Honor Allen, a four-time U.S. Oyster Festival Champion and five-time Florida Seafood Festival champion,” Dibella said. “The oyster eating contest is also back, a favorite of the festival.”

Opening for Stapp will be The Fooz Fighters, the award-winning Foo Fighters tribute band. For Oyster Eve, held on Aug. 19, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Fowler Field, Hazzard County, a modern country cover band, will be performing.

Proceeds from the festival support local causes, including a Milford Chamber of Commerce scholarship in memory of Linda Stock, the annual purchase of the flowers on the Hotchkiss Bridge, the Beth-El Shelter and more.