Oyster festival attracts Canberrans to the coast
Kaleen family Annelise Fox and Warwick Pitt, with their children Emilia, 4, and Arlo, 1, enjoy freshly-shucked oysters at the Narooma Oyster festival. Photo: Tim Burke
Hundreds of Canberrans flocked to Narooma for the annual Oyster Festival over the weekend.
More than 4500 people – including around 500 ACT residents – enjoyed the seafood celebration on the Wagonga Inlet foreshore, on the NSW south coast.
The event has been running for five years to showcase the region's burgeoning ocean-pure oyster farming industry and local produce.
Almost 10,000 oysters were sold on Saturday. Photo: Tim Burke
Organisers said more than 800 dozen – almost 10,000 – Sydney Rock oysters were sold on Saturday, with freshly-shucked oysters coming from local aquaculture farms in Batemans Bay, Pambula, Tuross and Narooma. Dozens of volunteer shuckers worked to keep up with demand at the oyster bar, which included various oyster recipes such as Kilpatrick, natural and spicy cheese.
Sunny weather ensured the community event proved popular among families from as far away as Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.
Annelise Fox brought her family from Kaleen to the festival for the first time this year.
"Oh yes, we just love eating oysters and there are so many on offer today," said Ms Fox, who stayed with her parents at Broulee for the weekend.
She said her four-year-old daughter Emilia Pitt had an obsession with oysters.
"She's eaten a dozen already - she's mad on them and can't get enough!"
Special guests at the event this year included former Masterchef winner Julie Goodwin and Bannister's head chef Julian Lloyd from Mollymook.
Local tourism organisers said the festival provides a major economic and tourism boost for the local economy and an opportunity to showcase the local ecotourism, produce and hospitality.
Event organiser Kate Jackson said it was another "oys-tacular" community event and it was excellent to see so many people from Canberra and outside the region.
"There were more than 800 dozen oysters shucked at the oyster bar and around 4,500 people through the gates so we are delighted with the success of the event," Ms Jackson said.
"It was wonderful to see so many families visiting this year, especially from Canberra."