Oyster Festival Canceled Again
By Priya Persaud
The annual “Oyster Festival” held every October for decades in downtown Oyster Bay, has been canceled again, due to concerns about the COVID virus, and the uncertain and restrictive responses of the New York State government.
The Oyster Fest had grown from a local street fair attended by a few thousand to a mega-festival with over 200,000 attendees, in recent years. The 2021 Oyster Fest was scheduled to return on October 16 and 17 in Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park. Nevertheless, a local spike in COVID-19 cases and the shifting rules being issued by the New York State government in the wake of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s (D-Westchester) resignation, caused the local organizers to cancel the event for another year.
“The health and well-being of the residents of our beloved Oyster Bay-East Norwich community and the festival attendees is our primary concern,” said the co-sponsors of the Oyster Fest - the Rotary Club of Oyster Bay and the Oyster Bay Charitable Fund.
Local observers have criticized the Oyster Fest in recent years because of the concern that it had become ”too large.” About 20 years ago, the venue was shifted from the streets of downtown Oyster Bay, over to the large parking and ballfield areas of Theodore Roosevelt Park, to accommodate the growing crowds.
Local Oyster Bay and Bayville residents have complained about “massive traffic jams” blocking the local access roads, and cars parked illegally all over the Oyster Bay village, including on people’s lawns and blocking driveways. Local residents have also complained about drunks urinating on residents’ bushes, lawns and fences, fights erupting in local restaurants and on the street, and a lot of property damage.
The organizers promise that the Oyster Fest will return in October, 2022.