Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oysterfest 2009 Draws Crowds Despite Weather

There were threatening clouds but no rain, and the spirit of Oysterfest seemed alive and well when Sven and I hiked into town Saturday afternoon. I’m afraid Sunday may be a different story … People did come out from Boston but perhaps not in throngs as in previous years, which is understandable, considering the forecast and a longer-than-usual delay at the Sagamore Bridge, under repair. If the merchants noticed, they did not show it, busy hawking wares to visitors from other Cape towns, like Chatham, Brewster, and Provincetown. There were long lines under the town hall parking lot tent, at food stands manned by crews from Wicked Oyster, Moby Dick, and other local restaurants, which proved everyone had brought an appetite. Sven purchased paella and lobster roll. I noticed fewer paintings and more crafts, less clothing and a greater turn-out by non-profits like Cape Cool and Mass Audubon, which had a stand describing oyster reefs (for full explanation see this article in yesterday’s Cape Cod Times). Wellfleet’s fleet of school buses again ferried partygoers from the beach parking lots, a system that kept traffic congestion to a minimum. The Methodist and Congregational churches offered $10 parking for early birds, and the lots were full. Sven enjoyed watching wood carvers at work. My favorite stand was manned by Washington Ledesma from Uruguay, now creating art on Martha’s Vineyard, who had no trouble selling his colorful pottery, full of whimsy. We also stopped in to say hello to Maroussia Chavchavadze and admire woven textiles from the Republic of Georgia, on sale to benefit American Friends of Georgia. Nearby, Karoo KafĂ©, a vegetarian eatery in Provincetown, churned out falafel sandwiches and hot, spicy South African soup. At another busy stand, a young lady painted faces. An industrious Wellfleet woman sold Lil Codders T-shirts for wee ones. The most happening place for kids was surely the Preservation Hall lawn where The Elbows had parents and children alike dancing to the beat. We paused to sing along to popular tunes like “You Are My Sunshine.” The sunshine, itself, did not appear except once or twice but that did not dampen spirits. And the oysters? They were everywhere: on jewelry, T-shirts, hoodies, hats, books, chocolate – yes, Jade sold her delicious chocolate oysters, described here – paintings, photos, etc.. Partygoers scoffed down a plate of sweet Wellfleet oysters, on the half shell, faster than it takes to explain the various meanings of spat and describe all the resourceful ways S.P.A.T. uses the funds raised during the festival to encourage young Cape Codders to practice aquaculture: grants and scholarships. All those oyster shells? They are recycled. Read about it here.