Organizers of the Osoyoos Oyster Festival said interest in the events have been gaining popularity fast in the area.
“We sold out an event already and that is almost unheard of in the Okanagan. People usually wait until the last minute to get their tickets. We are almost half-way sold out of another event too, the Art of the Oyster,” said Clair Sear, event co-ordinator. “There definitely is a great buzz and the whole event has been really growing.”
The Osoyoos Oyster Festival was created to showcase the sustainable oysters produced by the farmers and guilds of the nearby West Coast paired with the award-winning wines of the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association.
Signature events include the April 25 Oyster, Beer and Beast Bash presented by the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce at Spirit Ridge Conference Centre. This is an evening of oysters, local craft beer and cider, live entertainment and all things meat prepared by some of the South Okanagan’s most talented chefs.
“This is a new event this year that brings together local craft breweries from Cannery Brewing, Firehall Brewery and Tin Whistle Brewery who have made a collabor-ale. We also have a competition open to microbrews across Canada to pair with oysters or if you don’t like seafood there will be meat,” said Sear.
The party kicks off at 6 p.m. with a cask tapping of a collabor-ale created by South Okanagan breweries. Live entertainment will be provided by the Gordon James Duo. Tickets are $25 which includes three tasting vouchers. Shuttle transportation is available for $10 per person with pickup locations at Watermark and Walnut Beach in Osoyoos and Family Foods in Oliver.
The second signature event is held on April 26 at Watermark Beach Resort from 7 to 9 p.m. and is followed by dancing and a cash bar until midnight. The Art of the Oyster Pearl Gala invites guests to dress up in the theme of fisherman/mermaid or with pearls, prizes will be handed out for best dressed.
“This is a really great event because you are getting oysters from 11 different restaurants and the oyster fishermen will be right there to talk about what you are eating. If you are an oyster lover and a wine lover, this is the event to go to,” said Sear.
Enjoy oyster creations from the South Okanagan’s best restaurants and chefs along with wonderful wine pairings from Oliver and Osoyoos wineries. West Coast oyster farmers will shuck their oysters alongside stations from Okanagan’s best fishmongers: Codfather’s and Buy The Sea. At 9 p.m. The results from Canada’s Oyster Wine Competition will be announced.
The competition will select Canada’s best oyster wines in the categories of Riesling, sparkling, Sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, unoaked Chardonnay, Chardonnay, pinot blanc and wild card (100 per cent Canadian grapes).
Judges will also determine which Canadian craft beers pair best with oysters. Complimentary shuttle pickup between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. by OK Wine Shuttle from Osoyoos hotels to Watermark Beach Resort.
The shuttle will run continuously every half hour between 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Tickets are $44 plus tax. Other events during the third annual oyster festival include the Miradoro Long Table Dinner at Tinhorn Creek Winery on April 23, Under the Tuscan Sea at Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek on April 24, Waterfront Wines Cooking Class at Hester Creek Winery with Chef Mark Filatow on April 25 and the now-sold-out Get Shucked for Oyster and Wine Connoisseurs held on the roof-top terrace at Spirit Ridge Resort on April 26.