Beaufort’s 2nd Annual Oyster Festival
Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands
A great time was had by all at the 2022 Beaufort Oyster Festival! The weather was a perfect combination of winter chill and sunshine. The city’s waterfront park was the setting and oyster lovers from near and far came out to enjoy great food, live music and activities. Oyster dishes of all kinds were provided by Maggioni Oyster Company, Sea Eagle Market, Lady’s Island Singles and Serg Group. Festival goers had their choice of oyster creations, from fried to steamed and everything in between!
The festival coincided with Beaufort Tides to Tables Restaurant Week. Participating restaurants pulled out all the stops to create mouth-watering menus. The week rounded up with the two-day Oyster Festival. The festival kicked off Friday night with food and music provided by the Country Project and Steel Rail Express.
Runners came downtown bright and early Saturday morning for the Oyster Boogie 5K Run. The Social Oyster Shuck started at 10 am and the Competitive Oyster Shuck commenced at 1 pm. A Cornhole Tournament went on throughout the day. A competition for best oyster dish was held on Saturday. Here’s what the competitors served up for the judges:
The Maggioni family has been harvesting and canning oysters in this part of the world since 1870, when they immigrated from Italy. The oyster company in in its fifth generation of ownership and is one of the largest providers of premium quality wild harvested bushels and single oysters. For this year’s festival Maggioni Oyster Company prepared oysters the old-fashioned way, just like we make in Lowcountry back yards. Three fire pits were placed in the park and oysters were roasted all day long. Head over to the Port Royal Farmers Market every Saturday from 9 am – noon to pick up Maggioni Oysters, or call 912-844-1031 and ask for Jeff.
Sea Eagle Market delivers fresh seafood from their boats on St. Helena Island. The family has been in the business since the 1970s. They deliver fresh seafood all over the state. They also have a busy catering business and market at 2149 Boundary Street, Beaufort. Sea Eagle served oysters raw, steamed and fried to perfection. They also dished up oyster fritters (my new favorite)! If you’re looking to purchase local seafood or have an event catered by the team, call 843-521-5090.
Lady’s Island Oyster Inc prepared single lady oysters with mignonette. Typically, classic mignonette is made from red wine vinegar, minced shallot, and freshly ground pepper. What did the Lady’s Island Oyster chef use? Who knows what his secret ingredients were? The oysters were delectable! Lady’s Island Oysters are harvested from their very own hatchery in Oysters can be ordered from Lady’s Island Oyster Inc by calling 843-473-5018.
The chef for Serg Group and Skull Creek Boathouse prepared a garlic, parmesan and breaded oyster dish that would melt in your mouth! Skull Creek Boathouse is located on Hilton Head Island. Their restaurant has a wonderful menu that reflects the bounty of the Lowcountry waters. Dine at their waterfront restaurant and enjoy the views as you indulge on delicious menu items. Don’t forget to try their hushpuppies with spiced honey butter! They are famous. You can find Skull Creek Boathouse at 397 Squire Pope Road, 843-681-3663.
The competition was fierce, and the judges struggled to pick a favorite. After much deliberation and a tiebreaker, Maggioni’s old fashioned oyster roast won.
Just like many festival-goers, I’m looking forward to next year’s Beaufort Oyster Festival. In the meantime, I’m going to try to figure out how to make oyster fritters! That’s a blog for another day. For more information on festivals in the Lowcountry visit SOUTHCAROLINALOWCOUNTRY.COM. You can also find accommodations, attractions and much, much more on our website.