Thousands turn out for Bluff Oyster Festival

Melisa Matheson-Calders competes in the novice oyster opening race in front of a packed tent at...
Melisa Matheson-Calders competes in the novice oyster opening race in front of a packed tent at the Bluff Seafood festival on Saturday. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
More than 4,500 people turned out today to the annual Bluff Oyster Festival, to sample the famous delicacy along with other seafood including kina, muttonbirds and fish pies.

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 took their knives to shells in an attempt to retain their records in the oyster opening events.

The gates opened at 10.30am before the traditional Piping in of the Oyster and the reciting of the Ode to the Oyster

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