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RED BANK: SCENES FROM OYSTERFEST

The first afternoon of autumn 2013 was sun-splashed and spirited at the White Street parking lot Sunday, when the fourth annual Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival brought bands, libations, great food and thousands of visitors to the heart of town. Were you there? Check out our slideshow to see if redbankgreen caught you in mid-slurp. (Mouse-over photo to pause.)

THEY’RE ALIVE! OYSTERFEST RETURNS SUNDAY

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

By DANIELLE TEPPER

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.

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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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