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North Carolina Oyster Festival successful despite worries over oyster shortage

North Carolina Oyster Festival in Ocean Isle Beach.
North Carolina Oyster Festival in Ocean Isle Beach.(WECT)
Published: Oct. 17, 2021 at 10:57 PM EDT
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OCEAN ISLE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - Saturday was jam packed at the North Carolina Oyster Festival in Ocean Isle Beach.

Seafood vendors, arts and crafts, shopping and even an oyster shucking contest surrounded Causeway Park.

People from near and far came to get some fresh oysters, even though some were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to get any.

“We had to rise the prices due to the fish prices, seafood, crab, oyster prices have gone through the roof. But, we had to adjust ours accordingly and not one person flinched, and I was worried to death, I mean I’m an old school dude and I’ve had Dirty Don’s [Oyster Bar & Grill in Myrtle Beach] for 30 years and I’m going ‘I don’t want to gouge anybody’,” said Don Cauthen, owner of Dirty Don’s.

Cauthen said this was his fourth year at the festival as an oyster vendor, and he was worried about how this weekend would play out with the ongoing oyster shortage.

“As of yesterday morning at 9 o’clock, we had none, so we started making some phone calls. We had a lot of suppliers, we pulled it off,” Cauthen said. “I mean every year gets better-- this year is what we thought, downsizing the festival, less food vendors, we have killed it and it has killed us. But no, it’s been fantastic.”

As of Saturday evening, “we’ve gone through about approximately a ton and a half of oysters. It’s been non stop since 10 o’clock this morning,” Cauthen said. All of those oysters adds up to about 80 boxes/bushels. To do the math, that’s over 8,000 oysters sold in just one day of the festival.

“Everything worked out good, especially with the oysters, we had plenty,” Cauthen said.

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