Novice oyster eater gives annual contest her best shot

Greyson Schwing was the winner of this year’s oyster eating contest at the 42nd Annual Milford Oyster Festival Saturday.

Schwing, a member of the Devon Rotary Club and owner of Antelope Web in Milford, ate his dozen oysters faster than any of the other 12 competitors in the contest, defeating the 2015 champ, Shaileen Landsberg.

Landsberg, who joked before the event that she was hoping to defend her title, came in second.

The contest included local business people and political leaders, including Mayor Ben Blake.

Perhaps one of the most entertaining contestants was a young woman who had never eaten an oyster before, and who said she may never eat one again.

Natasha Tyner, a greeter at Hyundai in Milford, which was one of the sponsors of the oyster festival, seasoned her oysters with hot sauce as the contest was getting underway.

She joked with the other contestants, and announced that she aimed to beat the mayor in the oyster-consuming challenge.

Tyner smiled. She laughed. She was the life of the party as the countdown got close.

And when the countdown ended, she downed her oysters in true competitive style; and while she didn’t win, she did put up a good fight.

It was only after the competition that she revealed the fact that she was not exactly an oyster connoisseur.

“That was the nastiest thing I ever did in my life,” she said with a grimace after eating all 12 oysters.

Tyner said she never ate an oyster before and probably won’t eat one again. But in true team spirit, she praised her employer, Hyundai, and said she was happy to represent the company in the competition.

“Jill Merriam is so inspirational she makes you think  you can do anything,” Tyner said.

Tyner said she was happy to “take one for the team.”

Thousands of people attended the annual festival in downtown Milford Saturday.

This year the festival featured two headline bands, Blue Oyster Cult and The Marshall Tucker Band. Music-goers packed the main stage field for the two bands.

There was a green filled with crafters selling items, and there were children’s rides and children’s entertainment, a classic car show and a whole lot more.

Oyster Eve on Friday kicked off the event, featuring Eaglemania, an Eagles tribute band.