Reflections from the Georgetown Oyster Eat

by Dave on February 28, 2009

photo3Make no mistake, the Georgetown Oyster Eat is a unique slice of Americana truly deserving of its recognition by Congress as a “local legacy” event.

I attended the event this year with some old friends, primarily born-and-bred Milfordians like myself who needed little adjustment to the sawdust floors and cigar smoke that hovered over the crowd of several hundred men at the Georgetown Fire Hall on Bedford Street, where members of the fire company handed out free hats to all the attendees (blue with a fish emblem or green with a deer) as they entered.

You could even purchase the official t-shirt for this year’s event, featuring a caricature of Vice President Joe Biden in overalls.

photo4Always a great event to catch up with friends from all over the state, the oyster eat enjoys widespread popularity after 72 editions. But after all of the talking, the real mission of the evening is beer (light or dark) and food. It was not a rare sight to see people shucking oysters with friends right behind them holding two or more egg salad sandwiches.

The shucking itself is another unique part of the event. Most brought their own knives and sidled up to the trough for hours of shucking and sharing. It’s a really cool experience to see a veteran of the event take interest in a newcomer (you can tell the difference really easy), making sure they enjoy their experience.

photo2The shucking, however, is not without it’s peril, as Kevin Gilmore of Lewes learned. (That’s his oyster-sliced finger in the picture.)

Also on hand, as always, were a smattering of politicians. With no effort, I bumped into State Auditor Tom Wagner, State Representatives Joe Booth and Dave Wilson (who later auctioned off the annual oyster knife for the fire company), and former State Representative Greg Hastings.

While not the shoulder-to-shoulder cramfest that it can be during an election year, this year’s Georgetown Oyster Eat delivered a solid dose of Americana, Sussex County style. It remains a can’t-miss event.

Comments on this entry are closed.

[CoastalSussex] on Twitter[Coastal Sussex] on Facebook[Our] RSS Feed[Our] Email