Edible Mollusk Festival & Oyster-Eating Contest to debut April 17
This spring The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum will be unveiling a new exhibit called “MMMMollusks!”
This touch-screen interactive exhibit begins with a selection of mollusk varieties, such as octopus, clam, oyster, mussel, snail and squid. Upon choosing a variety, the visitor is presented with a map showing selected regions of the world where people eat or have eaten that mollusk.
When the visitor chooses a region, he or she will find a brief summary exploring one or more of the above themes, information on when and how to enjoy that mollusk, and recipes from the selected region. Information on where to find dishes locally may be included and the visitor may print recipes to try at home.
Last week, Mayor Mick Denham issued a proclamation designating the week of April 11 as “Edible Mollusk Week.” Participating area restaurants will feature daily edible mollusk specials and a portion of the proceeds generated by the daily specials will be donated to the Museum’s educational fund.
On Saturday, April 17 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum – in conjunction with the Timbers Restaurant and Fish Market – will host the First Annual Edible Mollusk Festival & Oyster-Eating Contest. The event will take place in the Timbers parking lot.
Local businesses will sponsor teams charged with generating pledges totaling $250. Each team will choose an “oyster eater,” who will be given 90 seconds to down as many pre-shucked oysters on the half shell as possible in that time frame. The winning team will be awarded the coveted Edible Mollusk Festival & Oyster-Eating Contest trophy.
Festivities will include face painting and crafts for children. Island crafty lady, Anne Joffe, will help the children create edible mollusk magnets. Dr. Jos H. Leal will conduct min-workshops on shells produced by edible mollusks and Timbers’ culinary experts will host min-workshops on cooking your favorite edible mollusks.
In addition, beer, oysters on the half shell, oyster shooters and other special delicacies will be sold, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the Museum’s educational fund. Lily & Co. has donated a jewel-laden edible mollusk necklace to be raffled off.
Judie Zimomra, Dan Schuyler, Matt Asen and Denham will serve as contest honorary judges. The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club was the first team to “throw their hat in the ring,” naming John Carney as their oyster eater. Patrick Harder of The Jacaranda was the first restaurant to step forward for participation in Edible Mollusk Week.
If you would like to sponsor an oyster eating team, serve as an oyster eater or participate in Edible Mollusk Week, please contact Clair Beckmann at 472-4524.