MILFORD - Oyster aficionados crowded downtown Milford Friday for Oyster Eve, a pre-celebration for the annual Oyster Festival.

Workers spent the day transforming the grounds into a pedestrian mall and organizers had plenty of oysters on hand to serve the crowd. They plan to have about 30,000 more oysters and clams, along with other food and drinks at a food court, for the festival on Saturday.

This is Milford's 40th Oyster Festival, which will include an oyster-shucking and eating contest, as well as a canoe and kayak race.

The event has grown tremendously in attendance and scope over the years. Organizers expect about 50,000 people will attend.

"It's comparable to a wine tasting," says Paula Smith, president of the Oyster Festival Committee. "There's a lot of community spirit around it and I think that's why we come back year after year."

Bret Michaels of the group Poison and reality-TV fame will be the music headliner; other groups will perform.

The festival starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and ends at 6 p.m. Admission is free and attendees are advised to get there early to find parking.