While efforts are underway to restore oyster populations in the local waterways that once boasted them in abundance, Red Bank celebrates the opening of oyster season by, well, opening a few thousand oysters — not to mention a beverage or two.
With a forecast of mostly sunny skies and boatloads of bivalves, it’s party time in the White Street parking lot Sunday.
A cross-the-pond “sister” event to Ireland’s 61-years-and-counting Galway Oyster Festival, Oysterfest is the undisputed pearl of the Greater Red Bank Green’s transition into autumn, a popular attraction that returns for an eighth annual stand this Sunday to the White Street municipal parking lot.
Presented once again by Red Bank RiverCenter, the event known familiarly as “Oysterfest” raises a pint of stout while raising funds for two borough-based nonprofits — the Jane H. Booker Cancer Center at Riverview Medical Center and the homeless services agency HABcore Inc. — with a portion of proceeds also helping fund the ongoing events and programs of the RiverCenter partnership.
Running between noon and to 7 p.m., it’s a party packed with local flavor, as some 20 local restaurants, caterers, eateries and desserteries offer up a strolling smorgasbord of epicurean eclecticism (take it here for a current listing with links) that’s augmented by the fresh clams, lobster rolls and, yes, oysters purveyed by Highlands-based favorite the Lusty Lobster.
Take it here for a detailed schedule of the live music offerings, a slate that includes veteran Shore favorites (Bobby Bandiera, Brian Kirk and the Kirks), newcomers, and a climactic set by Anthony D’Amato’s celebrated and soulful showband project Remember Jones.
Naturally, the event won’t lack for the sublime stout whose name adorns the banner — beer and wine will also be on hand for the 21-and-up set — and even after the last festival pint is pumped, the fleadh continues during the by-now-traditional afterparty at the Dublin House, commencing at 7 p.m..
Admission to Oysterfest is $5 for anyone over the age of 10. There’s a scheduled rain date of October 1, though the forecast calls for mostly sunny skies. Updates can be found at the event’s Facebook page. All attendees who arrive via NJ Transit buses or trains can show their ticket or pass for a $2 discount on an official Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival t-shirt, available for purchase at all event entrance gates.