A celebration of the Bluff oyster

Winner for the eighth time of the Bluff Oyster & Food Festival ladies' oyster opening competition...
Winner for the eighth time of the Bluff Oyster & Food Festival ladies' oyster opening competition Vic Pearsey, of Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters, prepares her oysters at last year's event. PHOTO: JANETTE GELLATLY
Despite bad weather leading up to the Bluff Oyster & Food Festival, organisers are confident there will be plenty of the famous Bluff oysters available at the venue tomorrow.

Traditionally, about 20,000 oysters - "battered, raw or featuring in specially prepared recipes" - were consumed at the event each year, Bluff promotions and publicity officer Lindsay Beer said.

The popular event, now into its second decade, celebrates the Bluff oyster with opening and eating competitions and festival-goers also have the opportunity to try out a variety of seafood and non-seafood items, while being entertained throughout the day.

Competitors will take their knives to shells in an attempt to retain their records in the oyster opening events.

Vic Pearsey, of Bluff, will be gunning for her ninth title in succession in the ladies open. Last year, she opened the 50 Bluff oysters in 3min 28sec, but two years ago managed the feat in 2min 43sec, Mr Beer said.

In the men's open, Shane Wixon has been the one to beat since 2015. His winning time last year of 3min 2sec was short of his personal best of 2min 36sec.

Visiting the annual festival for the fourth time,

Daryl MacDonald, of Blenheim, will be returning to defend his title of oyster eating champion.

The gates open at 10.30am before the traditional Piping in of the Oyster and the reciting of the Ode to the Oyster, and various entertainers take the main stage.

 - Janette Gellatly

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