By on April 11, 2012

Rob “Effing Oyster” Tryon of NW Aquaculture poses as he scoops a bucket full of oysters into a basket. Northwest Aquaculture is one of many businesses participating in the first OOOyster Festival at the Walnut Beach Resort in Osoyoos from April 14-21. Photo supplied.

You can boil them, steam them, grill them, BBQ them, bake them, serve them raw or put them in a soup or stew.
There are countless ways to prepare and consume an oyster, and during the first annual Oliver/Osoyoos OOOsyter Festival being held starting this weekend at the Walnut Beach Resort, there’ll be plenty of shucking and sucking these delicious sea dwellers.
“This is something people can really be a part of and take part in for a week,” said April Goldade, South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce (SOCC) board secretary.
The festival is an attempt to build off of the Osoyoos volunteer firefighter’s Oyster Feed – an annual fundraising event that typically sells out every year, including this year with more than 400 confirmed guests.
Goldade said besides building off of that event, the SOCC is also hoping this event will introduce the world of sustainable oysters to the South Okanagan.
“There isn’t an oyster festival other than in Tofino that is sort of close for us, so it’s nice to have that exposure for our local oyster farmers as well,” said Goldade.
A few of the local supporters of the OOOyster Festival include Northwest Aquaculture, Outlandish Oysters and Codfathers.
Goldade said these supporters, as well as many of the restaurants around town, will be showcasing their best seafood throughout the entire festival. And besides the local seafood industry, the South Okanagan wine industry will also be showcased during the festival.
Finally, Goldade said just like other festivals, events like this have a great potential to bring in tourist dollars to the area, which is always a bonus for local businesses.
“It allows us to bring in tourist dollars as well as give the locals an energetic launch into spring,” said Goldade.
The Oliver/Osoyoos OOOyster Festival officially kicks off on Saturday, April 14 with the annual Oyster Feed (which is sold out) and runs for a full week until Saturday, April 21.  Each night during the week will feature a different type of event, from the screening of Shellshocked at the Oliver Theatre Wednesday night to an amateur shuck and suck competition to finish it all off on Saturday at the Walnut Beach Resort.
“They’re all so different, which is really cool,” said Goldade. “That’s what I love.”
Based on the success of this year, Goldade said they are hoping to make this an annual event in Osoyoos.
For a bigger bite of the agenda, including times, places and prices, visit www.oooysterfestival.com.

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