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Test Your Oyster Shucking Skills (Or Just Come Eat Them) At the Port City Festival

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One of Uptown Saint John’s most popular restaurants is hosting the ultimate event for oyster lovers.

Gahan House Port City is hosting the second annual Port City Oyster Fest. Taking place Saturday, September 28, the event will be a night of all-you-can-eat local oysters and live music and entertainment.

“All the oysters come from the Maritimes. We try to get a big selection from New Brunswick and there’s a little bit from P.E.I as well,” says Ben Tsang, general manager of Gahan House Port City. “Of course, we have the craft beer here that we brew on site at our brewery. It’s just a celebration of music, oysters, food and fun.”

The event started last year to celebrate the region’s oysters, something the Gahan House group of restaurants specialize in.

“Gahan Houses all have oyster bars, so we wanted to find a way to showcase and celebrate the oysters that we deliver to our guests on an everyday basis,” says Tsang.  “What better fun than an all-you-can-eat Oyster event.”

An artist will be on-site doing paintings to document the event.

Though Port City Oyster Fest is a ticketed event, Gahan House Port City is also hosting the Port City Shucking Championship during the afternoon of the 28th. Taking place at Gahan’s Barrel room, this event is free for the public to check out.

“Anyone can come in and watch the people shuck away,” says Tsang. “It’s open to New Brunswick residents to come on down and challenge for the fastest shucking. You have to shuck 12 oysters and the fastes time wins.”

Also new this year is the Port City Seafood Chowder competition. The closed event taking place on September 24th will have chefs from Saint John restaurants compete to see who can make the best seafood chowder.

“The local chefs will come down and present their chowder to be judged and we will be crowning a winner of the first annual Port City Seafood Chowder Competition,” says Tsang. “It’s a grassroots event to celebrate the local chefs. We’re close to the water and seafood chowder is a Maritime thing. I feel like the competition will get a little bit heavy here, because people want to take home the win for the first event.”

The inaugural event last year was a huge success with more than 3,000 oysters shucked. Tsang says this year they expect to have 150 people at the event and tickets are going fast. If you’re thinking about attending, you don’t want to wait.

“We expect to sell out. Tickets sales are moving faster this year than they were last year,” says Tsang. “Everyone enjoyed themselves last year, so they already got their tickets and they’re coming back.”

There are many great oyster/seafood festivals in North America. But what makes
Port City Oyster festival special is its small size and mostly local attendance. You’re bound to see people you know.

“This is a very localized event. With local people, local entertainment, New Brunswick oysters and Gahan hospitality,” says Tsang.

General Admission and VIP tickets for Port City Oyster Fest can be purchased online here.  

This story was sponsored by Gahan House Port City.