Milford Oyster Festival returns for 49th installment Saturday
The Connecticut coastline is an oyster lover’s hotbed!
Milford - the city with the most shoreline in the state - hosted its 49th annual Oyster Festival Saturday.
“This is our first time out here,” Alice and Carl Williams Jr. of Bridgeport said. “We’re loving it!”
Whether it’s your “Very First Time” - or more like “Double Vision” - the 49th annual Milford Oyster Fest drew tens of thousands downtown for all that the city’s signature shellfish showcase has to offer - including a headlining set by Lou Gramm of Foreigner fame.
“The bargains, the entertainment, the food, there’s plenty to do around here,” Milford resident Tony Purpora said.
For many, the 30,000 oysters - all pulled from Milford waters - are the star of the show.
There’s been local concern and a Department of Public Health warning over the safety of raw shellfish after two local vibrio-related deaths, but the Bureau of Aquaculture said Friday that Connecticut shellfish have never been associated with vibrio. The key to safety? Keeping things as “Cold as Ice.”
“They’re on ice all day, they're very cold, they're fresh,” Stratford shucker Gina Ezzo said. “We take care of everything on the ice and in the cold refrigerated trucks.”
“We just keep going for hours and hours,” Milford shucker Richard Chesterson added.
There’s more to the Milford Oyster Festival than just shucking oysters. The Milford Green became “Main Street USA,” jam-packed with vendors and tens of thousands of visitors.
“Just everyone being together, I see everyone I know and we all have fun,” Megan Fyfe of Milford said. “They have music, crafts, everything here, it’s so much fun.”
The Department of Agriculture regularly tests for vibrio in Connecticut’s waters and shellfish - they say the bacteria naturally occurs in Long Island Sound and can cause wound infections.