Oyster lovers rejoice – this summer you can participate in a fantastic Maine oyster festival: the Damariscotta Oyster Celebration. Maine has steadily been building its reputation as a source of delicious oysters and the Damariscotta Oyster Celebration will be a great way for seafood lovers to immerse themselves in our local oyster culture. The three day festival will take place June 14 – 16 along the beautiful Damariscotta River in mid-coast Maine. Maine’s Damariscotta River and estuaries produce a unique oyster crop that is recognized around the world for its diversity of flavor and quality. The oyster festival will include a river tour of local oyster farms, an oyster shucking competition and an international oyster chef’s showcase among other events. True oyster enthusiasts may want to splash out for the connoisseur Weekend Passport which buys you entry into all the key events. Check out the dates and details of the 2018 Damariscotta Oyster Celebration below.
Damariscotta Oyster Celebration Schedule 2018
Thursday, June 14th
6:00 – 8:00pm: The three-day celebration kicks off with chefs from across North America competing in the International Oyster Chef of the Year competition at the Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort. The competition will feature seven chef innovators creating breakthrough oyster recipes that will be sampled by event attendees — culminating in a people’s choice and judge’s choice award. Tickets for the Oyster Chef of the Year competition can be purchased here. They cost $90, include wine, beer and spirits.
Friday, June 15th
10:00am – 4:00pm: On Friday, June 15, oyster festival visitors can experience Tour de Source, a behind the scenes look at the Damariscotta oyster community. Participants will get to meet the oyster farmers, and tour and taste their way around the bounty of the Damariscotta River, experiencing local oyster farms, local food and beverage producers and the latest aquaculture innovations at the Darling Marine Center. They will also be able to choose from optional tours to the historic oyster middens (enormous oyster shell heaps created by Native Americans over a period of about a thousand years, between 2,200 and 1,000 years ago). To be part of the Damariscotta Oyster Celebration oyster tour, visitors must purchase a Benefactor Weekend Passport, which is a hefty $750 but buys you access to all the oyster festival events.
6:00 – 9:00pm: Friday night brings together top chefs from the Damariscotta region to showcase the local food and flavors at Taste Maine’s Future at Round Top Farm. This multicourse dinner will feature local shellfish, seafood, protein, produce and cheese prepared by area chefs. The oyster chefs and oyster farmers will be the celebrated hosts for the event, which takes place in a scenic Maine barn – Darrow’s Barn at Round Top Farm (map). Tickets for Taste Maine’s Future can be purchased here. They cost $200, include wine, beer and spirits.
Saturday, June 16th
2:00 – 8:00pm: On Saturday, June 16, the Damariscotta Oyster Celebration culminates with oyster shuckers from top restaurants in the United Sates and Canada going head-to-head in a timed competition for the Can-Am Shuck Star. The oyster shucking competition will be hosted in downtown Damariscotta with the celebration including more oyster tastings, beverage pairings, and music. There are a variety of ticket options for the oyster shucking, all of which can be purchased here.
If visitors want to stick around until Sunday, they can catch the Rockland lobster boat races on Sunday a little further up the coast. To read about other Maine seafood festivals, click here.
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