This year marks the 16th annual Wellfleet Oyster Festival, held each year on the
weekend after Columbus Day.
The Oyster Fest is a wonderful, small town event where the entire downtown is transformed
into a pedestrian street fair. The festival highlights the shucking contest, but
includes lots of food, local vendors selling homemade chocolate, jewelry, art, and
more. There are educational booths, poetry readings, and live music.
Live music playing throughout the Festival
The town of Wellfleet leases roughly 200 acres of tidal estuaries in and around
Wellfleet Harbor to local commercial fishermen for the purpose of farming shellfish.
In recent years, these pristine waters have produced an annual commercial harvest
of an estimated 850,000 large choice oysters. This relatively limited availability
combined with their exceptional quality has made the Wellfleet oyster one of the
most highly sought after and recognizable varieties of oyster anywhere in the world.
What makes the Wellfleet oyster’s quality so superior? It’s the water. The waters
that flush through Cape Cod Bay are provided courtesy of the Gulf of Maine. By the
time the waters wash over the inner Cape they are relatively warm (by Gulf of Maine
standards). The phytoplankton rich Gulf of Maine waters provide the Wellfleet oysters
everything they need to grow quite rapidly and produce an oyster of exceptional
Enjoy fresh Wellfleet oysters from one of many raw bars
Wellfleet’s oyster industry is also historic. In the late 1700s and early 1800s,
the Wellfleet oyster beds were decimated by a combination of plague and overfishing.
In an effort to remedy this situation, forward thinking locals obtained a small
quantity of oysters from the Chesapeake Bay area and placed them in Wellfleet Harbor
as seed stock. As anticipated, the oysters once again flourished and thus the reintroduction
of the Wellfleet oyster -- and the birth of aquaculture in North America!
About Becky Fischer: I have worked for WeNeedaVacation.com since 2003. Currently serving as Marketing Manager, my position entails collaborating on all print and social media marketing efforts as well as the company's valuable relationship with 17 local Chambers of Commerce. In addition, I provide photography, video, and consultation services to vacation rental homeowners, and have photographed over 300 homes on the Cape and Islands. My husband and three children moved to Brewster in 2006. I grew up outside of Boston, spent summer vacations on Nantucket, and was married in Orleans. My favorite activities on the Cape are walking on the CCRT, deep breaths at the beach, and working with my community to support the schools and local events.