By: Robin Gibson
Folks came out in droves for the 35th Annual Lowcountry Oyster Festival held Sunday, January 28th, at Boone Hall Plantation despite inclement weather. Rain did little to deter ticketholders--some of whom had traveled from as far away as Ohio and Virginia to be there--from enjoying the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association's biggest fundraising event of the year. The world's largest oyster festival benefitted the following charities: MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, Ronald McDonald House, Coastal Conservation Association of South Carolina, Shriners Hospitals for Children, and the Charleston County School District. Gates opened at 10 a.m. to crowds awaiting entry during a brief stint of welcomed sunshine before the rain. Once inside, entertainment included the always popular Oyster Shucking and Eating Contests, Theatre on the Half-Shell performances by Storytree Children's Theatre, and live music from Greenville, SC-based Greg Payne & The Piedmont Boys. The VIP section and Pluff-A-Pallooza Kids Area rounded out the offerings along with seven restaurant booths, three food trucks, and a mobile bar on wheels courtesy of Blue Point Brewery. Of course, umbrellas and ponchos were the most popular accessories next to oyster knives and gloves.
Oysters, not your thing?
That's ok. Don't let that keep you from attending this annual Lowcountry tradition. Some of Charleston's hottest restaurant's and food trucks were on hand serving up plenty of delicious food and local fare. From seafod to barbecue, to burgers, wings, and gyros, a variety was available; and, if you were lucky enough to be VIP, Charleston Hospitality Group treated you to a gourmet spread.
Restaurants and vendors on site included Tavern & Table, Red's Ice House, Hyman's Seafood, Gilligans Seafood, Zeus Catering, BlackJack Barbecue, Wild Wing Cafe, The Mills House Barbadoes Room, Eli's Table, Toast, Fill Restaurant & Piano Bar, Cove Oyster Bar and Grille, Tabbuli, Rebel Taqueria, The Mac Daddy, and Ben & Jerry's.
35 years of producing a festival can lend itself to lessons. Hats off to everyone involved from parking attendants to ticket takers for a smooth event that seemingly went off without a hitch. GCRA has it down to a science synchronizing all the different aspects from traffic flow to facilities for maximum enjoyment.
Want to go next year? Don't miss the fun. Make plans now to attend the 36th Annual Lowcountry Oyster Festival, date to be announced, and check out event details here:
About the Greater Charleston Restaurant Assocation
The Greater Charleston Restaurant Association, Inc (GCRA) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit trade organization serving the Charleston area restaurant industry. The GCRA serves as the voice of its members on government and public relations issues. It also provides programs that offer operational benefits and create opportunities for members. The GCRA represents the largest private sector employer in the tri-county area, and its members are the cornerstone of the Charleston area community and economy.
The GCRA hosts annual fundraising events in order to give back to the community that has so generously supported its members. To date, those fundraising efforts have enabled the GCRA to donate over $1,000,000 to local charities. We recently launched the Charleston Restaurant Foundation to support these charitable efforts. Learn more about the foundation here.
GCRA, Inc. | 423 King St | Charleston, SC 29403 | 843-853-8000 | 843-853-0444 | www.chasrestaurants.com