Seven Reasons to Shellabrate the North Carolina Oyster Festival

NC Oyster Festival

October marks the start of Oyster Season in North Carolina, and the Brunswick Islands is the place to revel in and enjoy this tasty treat. North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is the site of the state’s official oyster celebration, and the Annual North Carolina Oyster Festival returns to Ocean Isle Beach for its 38th year October 20-21, 2018. Check out our list of seven reasons to stop by and shellabrate at the North Carolina Oyster Festival!

1.Two Days to Experience

With so many things to do, explore and eat, the North Carolina Oyster Festival offers two days to experience the exciting and action-packed event. Visitors can swing by from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 20 and from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 21 for a shell of a good time.

NC Oyster Festival Oyster Stew Cook-off

2. Friendly and Flavorful Competition

The festival hosts several opportunities for a little friendly competition. Whether guests are looking to shag, shuck or stuff their faces, the North Carolina Oyster Festival has something for everyone. Festival-goers can enter the shag dance competition, oyster eating contest and oyster shucking contest. For even more festive flavor, attendees can buy a ticket to taste one of the delicious dishes prepared by local restaurants for the oyster stew cook-off.

3. Countless Local Arts and Crafts Vendors

The North Carolina Oyster Festival is not just a food festival, it is an arts and crafts extravaganza. The event brings in the best in fine art and crafts from around the area. Attendees can explore rows of vendors offering the best in handmade jewelry, painted glassware, hand-blown Christmas ornaments, natural soaps, jams, handcrafted clothing items, woodcraft, unique cuisines and more.

4. Plenty of Palate Pleasing Eats

While fried and steam oysters do hold the spotlight during this two-day seafood celebration, festival-goers can also sample an array of delicious eats. From crab cakes and BBQ to pizza and sweet treats, the North Carolina Oyster Festival features food for every palate.

NC Oyster Festival

5. Loads of Live Music and Entertainment

Music is an essential part of any great outdoor festival and every year the North Carolina Oyster Festival brings exceptional entertainers to the stage. Bring your beach chair and enjoy an incredible lineup of popular beach bands, cover artists and country music. This year’s lineup includes Wayne Stewart & September Rain; Chocolate Chip & Company; Trey Calloway; Tina Smith; and The Tim Clark Band.

6. Tastes of North Carolina History

The annual festival is undoubtedly about great food and a great time, but it is important to remember just why the mighty mollusk deserves a dedicated event. The oyster has been an important food source in coastal communities for thousands of years, and oyster harvesting has long been a big industry for North Carolina. While oyster harvesting recently experienced a decline, restoration and hatchery programs have helped protect this storied industry and preserve production of this coastal culinary staple.

7. Budget-Friendly for Every Itinerary

Admission to the two-day festival is $5.00 (cash only) for adults with no admission cost for children under 12, making it an easy addition to every travel itinerary. Bring your family to the Brunswick Islands to experience this North Carolina tradition!

For more information on the 38th Annual North Carolina Oyster Festival, visit www.ncbrunswick.com/event/north-carolina-oyster-festival-ocean-isle-beach-nc.  For more information about other events throughout the Brunswick Islands, visit our calendar of events.

FALL in Love with North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

september and October in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands are packed with events attracting everyone from music lovers to runners to anglers to foodies to festival goers. Adults and children alike can enjoy a variety of attractions including fishing tournaments, movie nights on the lawn, grape stomping, sandcastle building, and a surf off. Add these exciting events with mild weather and great rates on accommodations and you have the perfect recipe for a memorable fall getaway. Here’s just a taste of our fall featured events:

Sixth Annual Southport Wooden Boat Show

Southport Wooden Boat ShowThe Southport Wooden Boat Show offers a chance to admire wooden boats, and talk with those who are passionate about making and owning them. The event will feature a contest where judges will be awarding the outstanding boat in a variety of categories, “Nauti-kids” activities for the young sailors, and nautical and maritime demonstrations. Exhibits from the North Carolina Aquarium and The Ft. Fisher Underwater Archaeology Branch will be on display throughout the afternoon. There will also be a Seafood Chowder Cook-off featuring five teams competing to win cash prizes and the title of the 2015 “SWBS Chowder Champion.”

North Carolina Oyster Festival

DSC_1242_Oyster EatersThe biggest food event of the season is the 35th annual North Carolina Oyster Festival that transforms the streets of Ocean Isle Beach into an open-air walking district, and boasts the best local cuisine, arts, crafts and entertainment. An Oyster Shucking Contest features professionals competing for the state title, perhaps dreaming of the national, or even the World Championships in Galway, Ireland. Amateurs are welcome to try their luck at local recognition. An Oyster Stew Cook-off allows attendees to try and rate local chef’s best recipes. More than 15 food and beverage vendors will be there offering everything from seafood and landlubber delights, to healthy or fun festival food.  Live music will be featured throughout the weekend.

NC Festival By The Sea

P1000027This two-day event kicks off with a parade down the Holden Beach causeway –  the one day of each year that locals and guests alike can enjoy the views of the Holden Beach Bridge on foot. Hundreds can enjoy taking pictures and absorbing the sights from the top of the bridge. A horseshoe tournament and sandcastle contest entertains the more competitive while kids can enjoy face painting, kite flying and more. The festival will also feature live music, arts and crafts and food vendors.

Check out our calendar of events for a full list of fun fall events!

Ocean Isle Beach NC Inspires Summer Beach Tune and Music Video

john Mayer made Atlanta’s Peachtree Street shine in his song “Neon,” while Katy Perry’s hit single “Teenage Dream” highlighted Santa Barbara’s beaches, proving that destinations can be muses for musical artists. Now an emerging country artist has showcased beautiful Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina as the perfect vacation spot with the release of her new single and music video based on the name of the beach house she visited last summer.

Nashville recording artist Whitney Layne, whose voice is described as “a blend of Bonnie Raitt and Jennifer Nettles,” has captured idyllic summer scenes of Ocean Isle Beach, from driving over the bridge and seeing the “Welcome to Ocean Isle Beach” sign, Sunset Slush Italian Ices, Beach Life Resort Wear and Flamingo Row Beach Shop.  Other landmarks featured are Inlet View Marina, Drift Coffee and Kitchen, and Surf Unlimited Surf Shop.

IMG_5613 broke but tan house sign blogAccording to Layne, “Last summer I came to Ocean Isle Beach to visit friends who had relocated from Nashville.  Everyone seems to have fun nicknames for their beach houses; the Greens had named theirs ‘Broke But Tan.’  As soon as I saw the sign, I said, THAT is a SONG!”

Layne says she loves everything about Ocean Isle Beach, affectionately nicknamed OIB by the locals and those who return often. “The beach is awesome – wide and suited to surfing and stand up paddleboarding, or doing nothing at all,” she said.  “And the people are so fun and friendly. I love the inspiration that OIB gives me to write songs. I will sit at the beach or over at Drift with my guitar and a note pad and just soak it all in.”

Be sure to catch Whitney Layne’s performance at the N.C. Oyster Festival on Ocean Isle Beach, October 18, 2015.

What are the criteria for a great beach town? Location, natural attractions, wide beaches, culture and activities, great restaurants and walkability. Based on these features and more, Ocean Isle Beach should be on everyone’s list for a beach vacation. Click here to discover all there is to see and do, from a winery and great restaurants to golf, kids’ activities and much more.

Beach rental homes give vacationers a perfect base for exploring, and they come in a variety of sizes and styles in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. From cozy, one-bedroom condos to lavish, eight-bedroom homes with multiple beds and bunks, there’s a perfect rental to accommodate families small or large.  A fun aspect to renting a vacation property is checking out the house names. Property owners often bless their homes with quirky and creative names, displayed on the house on colorful signs. Whether “Isle Be Chillin,” “Seas The Day,” or “Conch Out,” a vacation in Ocean Isle Beach is “A Shore Thing.”

Oyster Lovers, This Festival is Just for You!

Love fried and steamed oysters? Then plan to be in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands the weekend of October 18-19, 2014 for the 34th Annual North Carolina Oyster Festival.

This two day event is full of food and fun activities that everyone can enjoy. Popular events at the North Carolina Oyster Festival include the Oyster Shucking Contest (Saturday, October 18), where festival goers can enjoy watching the shuckers compete for the title of 2014 North Carolina Oyster Shucking Champion. At the Oyster Stew Cook-off (Sunday, October 19), competitors are given the chance to show off their culinary skills and draw attention to their delicious oyster stew.   The NC Oyster Festival Road Race (Sunday, October 19) will include a 5K, 10K and 1 Mile Fun Run.

Two new events added this year are an Oyster Eating Contest as well as a Shag Competition, where people can compete for the “Shaggin’ Oyster” titles hosted by the Coastal Shag Club. The festival will also feature live music, arts and crafts vendors, a kid’s area and plenty of other local cuisine, including seafood, BBQ, pizza and crab cakes, desserts and beverages.

The festival will be located adjacent to the Museum of Coastal Carolina on Ocean Isle Beach, which will be open and decorated for Halloween. Admission to the Festival is $5.00; children eight and under, free.

Parking for the festival is on the mainland of Ocean Isle Beach, just across from the airport as well as Causeway Drive.  Handicap drop-off is available, while parking and shuttle service to the festival are complimentary.

If that’s not enough oysters for you, you’re in luck.   The Shallotte Oyster, harvested from the creeks and marshes along the Shallotte River starting in October, is highly-prized for its extra-salty flavor. Distinguished from more well-known single oysters, the Shallotte Oyster is longer and narrower in shape and grows in clumps of four to five, making it best served steamed. During the fall, visitors can find them at area seafood markets and restaurants – if the locals haven’t scooped them all up yet!

North Carolina Oyster Festival

Ocean Isle Beach

Saturday, October 18, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Sunday, October 19, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.