My brother and Siu surprised me with a trip to Oyster Bay for the 31st annual Oyster Festival. We took the LIRR and it was an about an hour ride. It felt like Summer all over again-with carefree days spent with good company. I consider this the last hurrah for Summer even though it's gotten pretty chilly and it's already fall. Oysters and fresh seafood just scream Summer. There were various family friendly rides, but the main attraction for us was the food. We started out with Wild Bill's Olde Fashioned Soda. Their sodas are homemade and made with pure cane sugar. When you buy the mug you get unlimited refills throughout the day, we purchased the insulated mug to ensure our drinks remained cold. The flavors included orange soda, birch beer, root beet, sarsaparilla, diet root beer, ginger ale, and vanilla root beer. The sarsaparilla and root beer were my favorites. The mugs are quite big but it makes for a good souvenir. Lots of people at the festival had them, and more than once was I asked whether it was alcohol (not here folks!). I believe drinking was allowed but only off the festival grounds, but there were other non-alcoholic beverages available if soda's not your cup of tea.
The kettle corn was so good I forgot to take a picture! They had samples of each flavor available but I enjoyed the simplicity of the sweet and salty. As for the pretzels, the pictures don't do them justice. They're huge! I'd say as long as a person's face, and the pretzel was bigger than my brother's. They made the pretzels throughout the day and had them grilled before handing them out to customers. This is what I wish a NYC style pretzel would taste like.
They oysters were served with cocktail sauce, but there was a wide variety of condiments. I enjoyed them the best with a squeeze of lemon, yuzu sauce, and the spicy Korean cocktail sauce. These were definitely worth the hour and a half wait (eek!), I could have eaten WAY more than five (you can't just have one). We were tempted to get back on line to get more oysters, but the line got even longer towards the end of the day.
There were two adorable Alpacas, and I only got one of their names (Bella). I got to pet her and they were very friendly and sweet. Initially Siu and I had thought they were toys, they were so still-then they moved! Lots of blankets, vests, and other clothing items were sold by the farm. We also ended up seeing lots of unique things such as handmade lace and artisanal cooking and baking mixes. The handmade lace was all made by this sweet woman, who not only made doilies, but shawls, hangers, and anything you could imagine. We didn't get to try the English pastries but they were selling out pretty quickly (missed out on the black currant cake). But I ended up purchasing a few cheesecake mixes and dip mixes that I plan to make soon. The booth that sold the mixes are based in Vermont, they have their own Inn which has outdoor and indoor activities. If I ever get to go I was to try kayaking and their cooking classes. If their mixes were delicious I could only imagine what the food at the inn tastes like.