Come autumn, oysters are as popular as pumpkins, as they become seasonal staples in every holiday dish and are the inspiration behind many harvest celebrations along Virginia’s salty coast. Whether you enjoy them fresh, fried or roasted, paired with wine or beer, or simply like to slurp with a view, our coastal region has an oyster festival for you.
Mark your calendars for this year’s most highly revered oyster merriments taking place at various venues from the farmlands of Chesapeake to the harbor of Wachapreague.
Savor freshly shucked oysters and sweeping harbor views at the Island House Restaurant & Marina in Wachapreague. After you’ve tried ‘em all three ways, swap the bivalves for tender pulled pork and traditional barbecue sides with a hearty pour of local beer and wine from Chatham Vineyards. Oyster roasters can bid on select prizes during the event’s live and silent auction too. 4–9 p.m. Island House Restaurant and Marina, Wachapreague.
Try some outstanding oysters at the splendid setting of Steinhilber's on Lynnhaven River while supporting a noble cause, as this annual fundraiser will benefit Daniel's Grace, a 501(c)(3) with a mission to help cancer families survive and thrive. Roast on the River will serve an appetizing spread of oysters along with Sweetwater Cuisine's signature honey pecan fried chicken and Steinhilber's famous fried shrimp with Steiny's sauce. Indulge at the mimosa and Bloody Mary bar while joining in on auctions, a pie/cake walk, yard games and more. Individual tickets are $75. Noon–4 p.m. Steinhilber's Restaurant, Virginia Beach.
The Virginia Living Museum is alive with music, raffles, craft libations and a smorgasbord of seafood cuisine like all-you-can-eat oysters, warm chowders and fried plates. St. George Brewing Company also brewed a briny oyster brown ale exclusively for VLM’s seventh annual oyster roast. Cider from the new Sly Clyde Ciderworks will make an appearance as well.
Functioning as a Green Festival, all oyster shells from the roast will be donated to VCU Rice Rivers Center where they will be aged, seeded and later reintroduced to the Chesapeake Bay. 3–6 p.m. Virginia Living Museum, Newport News.
Experience the unique flavors of Virginia’s Eastern Shore during the region’s most celebrated Oyster Extravaganza. Pair wines from the award-winning Chatham Vineyards with fresh oysters and steamed clams harvested from nearby waters. Admission is $30 for wine club members and $55 for nonmembers. 4–8 p.m. Chatham Vineyards, Machipongo.
The scenic grounds of Norfolk’s Hermitage Museum host a delicious, waterside festival complete with music, oysters, Rodman’s Bar-B-Que and an extensive collection of locally crafted beer and wine. The $55 admission fee grants guests access to the museum and its special fall exhibit, 3D Printing the Smithsonian. 3–6 p.m. Hermitage Museum, Norfolk.
Returning for its seventh year is Historic Greenbrier Farms' celebration of heritage, lifestyle and Thanksgiving. Oyster & South attendees can savor seasonal oysters and an array of other seafood prepared by local restaurants. Harvest time fun continues with kid-friendly activities, live entertainment and opportunities to support local organizations like Children Today, Leaders Tomorrow and the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office. 1–4 p.m. Historic Greenbrier Farms, Chesapeake.
Support the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum while enjoying this party at the Oceanfront. This annual fundraiser will feature barbecue, raw and steamed oysters, chicken, beer and wine, live music and plenty of fun along the boardwalk. Proceeds from the Pig & Oyster Roast will support the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum's educational programs available to Virginia Beach schools and nonprofits at no charge. 1:30–5 p.m. Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum, Virginia Beach.
The celebration of the oyster continues at Chatham Vineyards for a three-day wine and bivalve event. For just $15, oyster lovers can enjoy a half-dozen half shells and a pour of Church Creek vino. Winter Wine & Oyster Weekend is also a part of the Eastern Shore’s Artisan Guild Open Studio & Vineyard Tour. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Chatham Vineyards & Winery, Machipongo.
Help yourself to all-you-can-eat roasted and raw oysters and traditional Eastern Shore fare such as fried chicken and homemade clam chowder with sides of potato salad, four bean salad, dinner rolls, coffee, soft drinks, beer and wine. Feast while you listen to live music and partake in a traditional 50/50 raffle and silent auction. 4–8 p.m. Cape Charles Museum and Welcome Center, Cape Charles.