OYSTERFEST II SLIDES INTO TOWN SUNDAY

oysterfest-2010-1The event is once again a showcase for borough-based eateries, organizers say. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

An ongoing effort by Red Bank restaurateurs to reclaim downtown visitors and show off their skills with a spatula marks a milestone Sunday.

That’s when the second edition of the Guinness Oyster Festival, an event widely considered a success in its 2010 inaugural, returns to the White Street municipal parking lot for an afternoon of food, dry stout and music Sunday.

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SHUCK & AWE: OYSTERFEST SLIPS INTO TOWN

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Sunday, foody Sunday: 2U, billed as the “World’s 2nd Best U2 Show,” headlines the outdoor stage at the first-ever Guinness Oysterfest in Red Bank on Sunday. (Photo ©Rob English)

By TOM CHESEK

It’s an often misunderstood mollusk — a briny aphrodisiac to some, a slippery turnoff to others. A nurturer of precious pearls, and yet hapless prey to otters and walruses and carpenters, who apparently have little patience for pearls and such.

But for nearly a week each September, and for more than 50 consecutive Septembers, the oyster has been celebrated, elevated to the most exalted standing (before being shucked and eaten), across the chilly pond in Galway, Ireland. Home to the annual Galway International Oyster Festival, it’s the place where the baywater bivalve is said to have been first washed down with the black brew that’s been called “the Irish aphrodisiac” — Guinness.

With the 2010 edition of that Irish institution set to commence its five-day run this Wednesday, Red Bank steps up as a “sister city” of sorts, when the borough plays host to its first-ever Only One Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival on the afternoon and early evening of Sunday, September 26. Presented by the folks at Red Bank RiverCenter (and benefitting a pair of regional cancer treatment nonprofits) it’s a seven-hour fleadh of food, music and stout that commandeers the municipal parking lot at White Street — heart and hub of the downtown, and not coincidentally the big backyard of local landmark, The Dublin House.

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