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(VIDEO) OYSTER EXTRAVAGANZA! Arcata’s 27th Annual Oyster Fest Ranks as Biggest Best Year Ever


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The city of Arcata had its most epic party of the year on Saturday, with more than 14,000 people showing up to the Plaza for the 27th Annual Oyster Fest.

According to Arcata Main Street, who organizes the event, it was the biggest and best Oyster Fest ever.

In this LoCO Video Report we take you all around the festival that served as a true testament to Humboldt’s community pride.

“I’ve been walking around dealing with all sorts of things and people are feeling like this is the best oyster fest ever,” Main Street Director Nancy Stephenson said during the event. “The vendors and the public seem happy. So it’s just a great festival.”

Many found the all-ages affair optimal for socializing, while some just kicked back in lawn chairs, or took to the makeshift dancefloor to enjoy the live music.

“Love, local, music and friendship,” are some words we hear from various attendees.

But we can’t forget all the Humboldt brewed beer and cider, and of course eating. Nearly 30 local food vendors were in full hustle mode trying to keep up with the never-ending long lines of oyster-craving consumers.

Vendors were serving everything from raw and grilled oysters drizzled in sauce, to more elaborate concoctions like Mazzotti’s Diablo, which was covered in pico de gallo, a Mad River chipotle creme fresh, lime, cilantro and queso fresco.

Mazzotti’s oysters were sold as a fundraiser for Arcata High’s football program and the players were shucking and grilling the oysters themselves.

Restaurant owner Joe Mazzotti, one of the coaches, said “We’re trying to make sure the kids have helmets, the shoulder pads they need, the jerseys and the money they need to facilitate these programs.”

Then down to Humboldt Bay Oyster Company, whose team used oyster chants to keep up their morale as they prepared Pacific oysters topped with a tart chili cucumber salsa.

Owner Todd Van Herpe says his booth has operated at the event for the past 13 years with help from family and friends, and that the best part is the community feel.

“I mean how many people show up on the plaza for anything other than this,” he said. “This thing is big and awesome and it showcases the awesome product that we grow here in Humboldt Bay, and everyone should be proud of the oysters that come out of this bay.”

Plus there was traditional fish tacos, bbq tri-tip, chicken, and all sorts of other grub to chow down on. Beer and wine sales were also at an all time high, but attendees managed to behave and only a few people were arrested following the event.

And if that wasn’t enough, the event continued down past the Plaza on a few streets, with an art market, kids zone and the new “Green Street” which focused on eco-friendly exhibits.

Now, for all that trash, the event also prides itself on trying to be as environmentally conscious as possible and offers reusable cups and has separate trash bins for recycling and the oyster shells.

“There’s a lot of logistics and planning that’s involved, and coordinating with the city. The city is taking all of our oyster shells again and we’re going to take them to the community forest and we use them to build up the road base and the trail base, which is pretty fun,” said Stephenson. “So when you hike the community forest you may look down and see oyster shells on the trail and wonder how they got there. They came from oyster fest.” 

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