The Ceduna Oysterfest started in 1991 as a small one-day community event.
Since then the event has transformed into a weekend full of activities, according to Oysterfest coordinator Annette Plane.
“It has grown quite considerably in the number of people who attend, exhibitors and how much food, wine and entertainment there is,” she said.
“We get around 6000 visitors through Oysterfest over the weekend, with a population of around 3400 for Ceduna and the surrounding areas that means almost 50 per cent of people who come to Oysterfest are not residents of the region.”
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, David Ridgway said it’s pleasing to see South Australians exploring their own backyard.
“Many participants would have travelled here by road, perhaps even traversing the Eyre Peninsula's Seafood Frontier touring route, a journey boasting amazing experiences and tastes,” he said.
“Your visit is supporting the long-term economic growth of our state's regions and most importantly creates local jobs.”
“Each tourism dollar spent helps the local community and will help South Australia towards its $8 billion visitor economy target for 2020.”
“Whether you're interested in the EyreScapes Art Exhibition at the Ceduna Memorial Hall, taking a day trip to neighbouring Streaky Bay or shucking on at Oysterfest and watching the Incredibles perform - you won't be disappointed.”
Oysterfest provides the perfect platform to celebrate Ceduna's passionate oyster industry and serves up some of the best oysters available in the Australian market.
There's also live music, free entertainment, competitions, market stalls plus much more - so whether you're a foodie, visiting the region with family or simply enjoying a day out, this celebration of the Eyre Peninsula offers something for everyone.
On Saturday morning Oysterfest will officially open with Sperou’s Skyblazers and a parade of sea-themed floats and costumes.
“We've been really lucky the past couple of years to have sponsorship from National Resources Alinytjara Wilurara,” Annette said.
“They back the parade which enables us to have about $3000 worth of cash prizes, which is huge and encourages people to get involved.”
“We hope it's going to be bigger and better this year.”
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The official welcome and opening will take place at 11.30am after the parade.
This year's Oysterfest will also feature cooking demonstrations from MasterChef Australia alumni Callum Hann and his Sprout business partner Themis Chryssidis. This is their first visit to the Oysterfest so be sure not to miss their cooking demonstration featuring fresh local produce.
“They’re sure to be a big hit over the weekend,” Annette said.
If that doesn't get your taste buds tingling, why not join in the signature Shuck ‘n’ Eat competition which also happens to be Annette’s personal favourite event.
Teams of two battle it out to be the first to shuck and eat 12 oysters, which sounds pretty simple until you realise the person who is supposed to be eating the oysters is blindfolded and has their hands tied behind their back.
“The shucker opens the oyster, cleans it, then feeds it to that person which is fine as long as they get it in their mouth, but there have been a couple of cases where they have missed and had to pick up the oyster and rinse it off,” Annette said.
“When you talk about it, people think it can’t be that exciting, but when they’re shucking those oysters as fast as they do and shoving them into the other person's mouth, it's a great spectator sport, I just love it,”
“To give you an idea of how quickly they can do this we've previously had times of one minute 10 seconds.”
Another one of the most well recognised Oysterfest events is the Stein Holding competition.
Competitors are tasked with holding a stein filled with water for the longest time without leaning or dropping their arm.
“We don’t tend to waste beer on the Stein Hold,” Annette said.
“The longest winner of the women's division has been in excess of eight minutes and we've had a men’s winner longer than 13 minutes.”
The Oysterfest will finish up with the Fireworks Spectacular on Sunday night followed by music by Shipwrecked until 11pm.
Do you have a great idea for Oysterfest 2019 or something you want to share with the festival organisers? Fill out a survey at the festival or online.
“These surveys are really important because without the information we get from them we can't go back to the SA Tourism Commission or any other organisation and explain to them how many people come, where they are coming from and where we should be putting our money,” Annette said.
“Without your directions, we can’t make the Oysterfest better every year.”
I encourage everyone to take some time to explore the program for this year's event and the broader region.Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, DAVID RIDGWAY