Slurping and pulling at the 2011 edition of the Oysterfest, held in Red Bank’s White Street lot. (Click to enlarge)


Think you’ve never eaten anything alive before? If you’ve tried a raw oyster on the half shell, guess again – or so claim the authors of the no-doubt-definitive Wikipedia entry on the bivalve, who state emphatically that oysters must be eaten or cooked alive. They’re also chock-full of zinc, iron, and calcium, as well as Vitamin A.

Also: they go well with Guinness.

Residents of (and visitors to) the Green might keep those culinary tidbits in mind as they turn their attention to next Sunday’s Red Bank’s Guinness Oyster Festival, slated to take over the White Street lot for an afternoon full of flavor and fun.

Modeled after the 57-year-old Galway Oyster Festival, the day is a celebration of the opening of oyster season.

Get ’em while they’re cold. (Click to enlarge)

The festival offers opportunities to tantalize the taste buds with over 25 participating restaurants serving a variety of specialty items off their menus, such as mini-reubens, filet mignon sandwiches, and lobster rolls. (A full list of participating restaurants can be found here.) And, of course, oysters abound – the slippery mollusks can be served smoked, boiled, baked, fried, roasted, stewed, canned, pickled, steamed, or broiled.

While indulging on all the food and Guinness one could possibly stomach, taste-testers will be privy to continuous live music on two separate stages. Headlining is Irish rock band Black 47, plus performances by Brian Kirk and the Jirks, the Nerds, Christine Martucci, Pat Roddy Band, Chuck Lambert Band, Inky Jack, and more will provide a mix of blues, funk, and rock and roll. (The full list of bands and their playing schedule can be found here.) Bag pipers from the Atlantic Watch Pipes and Drums and the Central Jersey Police and Fire Pipes and Drums will be roaming the crowd as well.

This feast of a fest also doubles as a fundraiser for the John & Jane H. Booker Cancer Center at Riverview Medical Center, the Cancer Institute of NJ Foundation and Red Bank RiverCenter. Donations are $5 for anyone over 10 years old. Over $50,000 has been raised at the last two festivals.

Since coming to Red Bank, the fest has been an excuse for people to come out and enjoy the downtown area as it serves up its finest culinary treats for all to enjoy. And the fun doesn’t have to stop at 7 – the after party will be held at the Dublin House (30 Monmouth Street), next to the festival site.

For more information, pry open this link. OysterFest’s rain date is Sunday, September 30.