What better way to celebrate the end of summer than with a party? Hoboken did just that with Oysterfest on September 17. For one full day, Pier A was dedicated entirely to seafood and great music. All was set to go off without a hitch, but the seaside bombing incidents earlier in the morning had officials on high alert.
The lines for noon check in were longer than anticipated with the crowd of festival-goers spilling out onto the pier entrance. Yes, there was a delay in operations, but the crowd, officials and area cops all went with it. Everyone was happy to be out, showing solidarity and having fun in the sun.
Dozens of oyster vendors prepared raw and cooked seafood for thousands of fans. There was a sampling of every kind of the crustacean — from as far away as Canada to as close as Long Island. Thankfully, oysters were either shucked already or shucked to order, leaving the task in the hands of the pros. For those looking for something less sushi-like, there were seafood faves like fish and chips, hush puppies and fun stuff like buffalo chicken-stuffed rice balls and Nutella-centric desserts. Yes, oysters were supposed to be the draw, but there was so much more there. The other big draw? Entertainment.
Oysterfest has become known as an amazing concert. This year, Wyclef Jean, Icona Pop, Plain White Ts, Nico & Vinz, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and a last minute addition of R&B star Mario put on a show worthy of the $100+ VIP get-a-good-spot-next-to the stage tickets.
It’s a great concept, but in order to really enjoy both, there is a system. Go with a group and have one person man the viewing spot you’ve claimed while others go after the food. There was a lot going on at Oysterfest, so if you didn’t act like a team, there was a chance you were going to miss something…like a Tito’s vodka cocktail. The Tito’s line was so long you could have spent a good portion of the afternoon there alone. In addition to Tito’s, Azunia tequila, Bulleit bourbon and beers like Guinness Blonde all had booths where custom cocktails were being whipped up.
A boat-load of wines from both local and international vineyards were on offer as well, but those lines there were more manageable. For, those who wanted to learn a bit more about oysters, seafood pros set up exhibits and booths to talk about all the good stuff from farming to harvest.
It’s easy to see why Oysterfest is such a big draw every year. Things to remember for next year’s event: go with a few friends — just two of you won’t be able to do it all. Be hungry but not starving. Put money in your pocket and leave the bag at home (you will just hold up the line at check-in if you need your bag searched). Oh, and you won’t know the music lineup until day-of, so plan on being there from 12-10 to catch them all.
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- Hero (Top) Feature Image (& Additional Images): © Fabiana Santana