Thursday, September 9, 2010

Norwalk Oyster Festival

The Norwalk Seaport Association will hold its 33rd annual Oyster Festival this weekend, September 10,11 and 12th. Located in Veterans Park, the event will feature arts and crafts booths, live music, children's activities, and lots of food.
What started out as a moderately-sized event in 1978 to raise funds and awareness for Norwalk's maritime heritage, has grown into a large, late summer ritual in Fairfield County.
Unfortunately, there were years when the Oyster Festival had become a victim of its own success. As the event grew in size, it seemed to turn its back on the original purpose. Large tents packed with hucksters selling miracle cleaners, Catskill real estate, and singing bass had replaced the harbor tours and other nautical  attractions.  There were plenty of booths selling fried dough and beef-on-a-stick, but very few oysters. For a while, it had become just another street fair.
Apparently, I wasn't the only one  turned off by this. The festival this year will include the return of an oyster pavilion, harbor tours, as well as the Schooners Quinnipiack, and Soundwater. Larry Flynn of Long Tails will also be on hand to give presentations on the wildlife of the Norwalk Islands.  I welcome this decision with enthusiasm.

The Norwalk Seaport Association has played a vital role in the rehabilitation of Norwalk Harbor. Their work includes the restoration of Sheffield Island Lighthouse; the preservation of the Norwalk Islands; as well as many environmental and educational programs and projects.
Their purpose is:
"to foster public awareness of our maritime resources, environment and heritage through research, education and preservation; and also to foster the preservation and rehabilitation of the area of historical value in Norwalk Harbor and Long Island Sound."

This weekend's festival serves as the primary fundraising source for the invaluable work they do.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate, or online on their website.

Soundbounder: Peck Ledge Lighthouse
Soundbounder: Norwalk Oyster Plant

photo credit: (top) Norwalk Seaport; (bottom) Quinnipiack: SchoonerInc


Mark Kreider said...

Great article and commentary! Wonderful photos especially the lighthouse with sunset... very emo.

bonnie said...

TQ doesn't live or work there anymore but boy, do I have some great memories of kayaking & camping in Norwalk Harbor. Wonderful place.

Glad to hear the oysterfest is getting back to the oysters. I'd actually asked about going one year, but TQ described it as being just the way you described it - schlocky street fair crap by the beach - I can get all the schlocky street fair stuff I want right here in NYC without a 2-hour train ride or an admission fee. I will keep this in mind for next year (may still not drag the boyfriend along though, he's not a big seafood guy).

matthew houskeeper said...

Thanks Mark!

Agree, the Norwalk Islands are a great kayaking area.
I didn't go to the oyster fest, but the reports have been that it was much better this year. I'm sure they still had chocolate bananas and fried twinkies for your boyfriend.