MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- As steady as a drum, folks are cooking up oysters. It's the reason they're all at the Oyster Festival in Milford.
Many lined up to shoot them back. Fried, grilled or raw, everyone has their favorite.
“I really like the grilled oysters, the raw oysters you can't beat too, but the grilled ones you can't beat here,” said Ed Rhodes of Phillip’s Seafood.
“I'm totally a raw guy,” said Bob Rheault. “I like to have my oysters naked and that allows you to really taste the true flavor. A little drop of lemon would make it better."
Bob would know. He’s the Executive Director for the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association. They plan this event every year.
Bands, music, and vendors come out, but many just want oysters.
Shucked and on ice, they have 15 different types from Maine to Virginia.
“It's all the same species from the Gulf of Mexico all the way up into Canada, but each body of water lends a little bit of a different flavor sort of like wines,” Rheault said.
“I enjoy shucking. I do not eat oysters, I don't eat oysters,” said Deborah Pratt, a Virginia native who came to Connecticut for the festival. "I'm four-time world champ and I don't eat oysters."
That's right; for 23 years she's been slicing them open. She hopes to do 24 in two minutes.
“A lot of people go from the hinge of the oyster, I'm a stabber I go from the lip of the oyster,” Pratt said.
At least other people enjoy the fishy fruits of her labor.
They're on track to sell 20,00 oysters in six hours..
The empty shells are recycled, used as fertilizer, to make driveways and even used for oyster beds so people can continue to have oysters at future festivals.
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