Oysters take center stage in Milford this weekend

This weekend’s Milford Oyster Festival has again partnered with the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association (ECSGA) to bring the finest oysters and clams to Milford for Oyster Eve on Aug. 17 and the Milford Oyster Festival on Aug. 18.

According to an Oyster Festival press release, the ECSGA represents more than 100 shellfish farms from Maine to Florida and will bring a dozen varieties of clams and oysters to the festival. “Having such a wide selection of fresh oysters in one place is a very rare treat,” said Jay Pinto, president of the Milford Oyster Festival.
Oysters take on the flavor of the ocean environments in which they are grown, so each grower has a unique product, oyster experts explained. Many of the growers will be at the festival to tell attendees why their oysters are the best.
Festival officials say there will be professional shuckers on hand to help shuck the 20,000 or so oysters and clams that will be served, to keep the lines moving. The oysters will begin being served on Friday at Oyster Eve, a pre-festival kickoff event at Lisman Landing on Helwig Street from 6 to 9:30 p.m.
That night event-goers will also find other food, beer and wine as well as live music from The Bernadettes. Cover is $5, under age 14 is free, but the child must be accompanied by an adult. Children may ride the amusement rides all night for $25.
At the Oyster Festival on Saturday, the East Coast Shellfish Grower’s Association will have two locations: One at Lisman Landing and one behind the Milford Public Library.
At the library location, there will be oyster shucking contests at 12:15 and 1:15 and an oyster eating contest at 2.
Professional shuckers, including sisters Deborah Pratt and Clementine Macon, will vie for the $1,000 first prize at the shucking contest. These two sisters have 16 U.S. women’s shucking championships between them since 1980.
Access to the Milford Center area will be restricted from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The streets that will be closed and/or have limited access include North Broad Street, South Broad Street, Depot Street, New Haven Avenue (from Gulf Street to Daniel Street), Prospect Street (from Cherry Street to New Haven Avenue), River Street (from Darina Place to New Haven Avenue), Armory Lane, Factory Lane, Shipyard Lane, Center Street and High Street (from Jepson Drive to Helwig Street).
Handicapped parking will be provided at the following locations: Milford Senior Center, Harborside Middle School and Wasson Field parking lot adjacent to West Main Street. There will be senior and handicap access shuttle transportation to and from these locations.
Pets and coolers will not be allowed within the festival boundaries.
Shuttle buses will pick up and drop off at two locations in Milford: Jonathan Law High School and the Westfield Connecticut Post Shopping Mall. The shuttle services will operate from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more festival details visit milfordoysterfestival.com.