Oyster Festival Will Charge $10 Admission This Year

Thursday, May 2, 2013
Serious slurping ahead at the 2013 Arcata Main Street Oyster Festival.

Serious slurping ahead at the 2013 Arcata Main Street Oyster Festival.

Arcata Main Street Press Release

Are you ready to shuck and swallow some of the freshest Oysters at the 23 annual Arcata Main Street’s Oyster Festival?  Come on down to the Arcata Plaza on Saturday, June 15, 2013.

The Oyster Festival will once again highlight and celebrate the plump and sweet Kumamoto oyster, raised and grown directly in Humboldt and Arcata Bays.

More than 30 culinary vendors will set up shop on the Plaza cooking everything up from raw and barbecued oysters to hot dogs to sushi as well as all kinds of Asian cuisine. Even if you don’t like oysters, there will be other succulent creations and food delights from our area’s best chefs for you to try.

The Oyster Festival will operate a little differently this year. Due to organizational budgets, festival management and attendance, safety concerns and increasing costs, Arcata Main Street will charge a $10 entrance fee to enter the festival grounds surrounding the Arcata Plaza. There will be no charge for beer wristbands.

“Putting on a festival of this magnitude is very expensive and unfortunately due to the loss of redevelopment funds from the state we have had our budget cut dramatically,” said Arcata Main Street Vice President Nicholas Matthews. “These budget cuts and the increasing price of putting on this event had put the viability of promoting future events of this nature in jeopardy.”

Arcata Main Street’s Board of Directors hopes the $10 entrance fee will change the dynamic and energy of the event, making it safer and more fun for all ages. In addition, the non-profit organization is working with the Arcata Police Department, the Arcata Fire Protection District and the City of Arcata to manage the large crowds and maintain the crowd’s civility as the event comes to an end at 5:30 p.m.

“The event in the past has experienced estimated crowds up to 16,000,” Arcata Main Streets Executive Director Jennifer Koopman said.

“The Oyster Festival has been hugely successful and growing — something for which people travel hundreds of miles to have their first taste of our community,” said Arcata Main Street President Dave Neyra. “But the growth and success has not come without costs, some of which threaten the event itself. Over the past years, our non-profit organization has had increasing complaints that the festival was becoming too crowded to attend, especially for families. But perhaps even more concerning were the increases in security problems with the event, some of which were related to the increase in attendance.”

The $10 entrance fee will also allow the Oyster Festival to reinvest in Humboldt’s aquaculture industry. Arcata Main Street has set up a support fund with Humboldt Area Foundation, where a portion of the proceeds will be donated back to local environmental projects.

Arcata Main Street’s Oyster Festival started 23 years ago as a way to promote Humboldt’s aquaculture businesses. Over 70 percent of the fresh oysters consumed in California are grown in 450 acres of Arcata Bay.

Arcata Main Street’s Board of Directors wanted to find a way to give back and to say thank you to all the oyster entrepreneurs in our area who ultimately want to develop and grow commercially viable, environmentally sound and culturally sensitive aquaculture businesses.

It is because of these local oyster farms and companies that we are able to highlight one of Humboldt County’s sustainable food sources, as well as bring attention to our beautiful and delicious oysters on a national level.

“Hopefully, with the additional funding raised from this year’s event, Arcata Main Street will be able to sustain itself for another year with the ultimate goal of being able to support downtown Arcata merchants,” Koopman said.

Arcata Main Street will not only be able to continue to reinvest in the business community, but will continue to produce events like Arts! Arcata, Concerts on the Plaza, Trick or Treat Around the Plaza and the Season of Wonder & Light which all help foster a family-friendly atmosphere and community in downtown Arcata.

“The potential increase in revenue from the Oyster Festival will not only allow Arcata Main Street to continue to invest in our local community with these type of events, but in other areas as well,” Matthews said.

The organization is also making plans to set up a scholarship fund, to have more events on the Plaza as well as contribute more to Arcata Plaza’s beautification projects. “The money raised from this event will also help the organization be more self-sufficient,” Festival Planning Committee Member, Bill Chino said.

Tickets are available on Hold My Ticket’s website, holdmyticket.com, and can be purchased in advance. Advance ticket sales will allow festival goers to enter the event more quickly, as the lines will move faster at all the four-corner token booths. Main Street has hired Select Bank Card to handle credit card transactions at the four corner booths. Local banks and tellers will donate their time working the corner booths to allow for quick entry.

The festival will employ a local fence company, Craft Mart, to create a safer venue area. Children under 12 will still get into the event for free, $5 for kids ages 12 to 17, and if you’re bringing the whole family, an expanded kids’ play area will be located between Eighth and G streets.

The organization will also use two shuttles from the City of Arcata that are free to festival-goers to help alleviate traffic and cars in the downtown area.

The festival will continue to include award-winning, local microbrews from Lost Coast Brewing Company and Mad River Brewing Company as well as new selections from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Blue Moon Brewing Company and Crown Imports (Pacifico).

Members of the California Conservation Corps will donate their time to help the festival with sanitation for the third straight year.

Festival-goers who volunteer their time will receive free entry into the festival, an official Oyster Festival T-shirt, and a beer token ($41 value).

Arcata Main Street employs local artists to submit their artwork for the official Oyster Festival poster every year. The 2013 Oyster Festival poster proudly features art by Arcata painter Joyce Jonté, who also submitted art for Picnics on the Plaza, Concerts on the Plaza and the Arts! Arcata posters.

In addition to the grilled mollusks and frosty beverages, the event will also feature live performances by the quirky and danceable, Yogoman Burning Band from the Pacific Northwest as well as Humboldt’s own jazzy and funk band, Motherlode. A third band will be announced at a later date. The money raised from the event will also help the organization pay a sound technician, stage rental and to purchase much needed sound equipment to be used at other events and available for rent.

In between the eating, drinking and slurping, KWPT 100.3 FM and 102.7 FM’s The Point presents their annual Shuck & Swallow competition where the 2012 defending champions, Aidan Semingson (the shucker) and Conor Eckholm (the swallower), go for yet another oyster knockout and gold belt. If you think you can beat this oyster shucking and swallowing dream team, contact The Point, to enter… if you dare!

The event will also feature two other notable contests. The Oyster Calling contest will include both young and old participants who will try to yell out what an oyster would sound like if the oyster were to ask his friends to join him at the Oyster Festival. Listen to KGOE 1480 AM if you’d like to win a chance to be an honorary oyster judge for this unique contest, as well as free tickets to the event. Twelve judges will receive an official Oyster Festival T-shirt from Humboldt Outfitters.

There’s also an oyster-food judging contest where three winners will receive a specially designed plaque from Humboldt’s own recycled glass company, Fire & Light originals.

Festival organizers ask that you pay special attention to the recycling and trash bins throughout the event as almost every product at the festival will be recycled, recyclable or properly disposed. The recycled oyster shells will be donated to the local fish hatcheries. The California Department of Fish & Wildlife Mad River Hatchery will use the shells as biofilters for reconditioning of the water for the fish.

The event begins at 10 a.m. and concludes at 5:30 p.m. All ages are welcome. All adults wishing to buy alcohol must produce and show current I.D. All non-refundable $6 beer tokens can be purchased at the four corner booths on the Plaza.

All the funds raised at this annual event — from the beer tokens to the entrance and booth fees — will support Arcata Main Street’s non-profit organization. Your generous donations will keep Arcata Main Street and the Oyster Festival going for many years to come!

Come down to the Plaza on June 15 and join us in our quest to consume thousands of oysters while supporting your community at the 23rd annual Oyster Festival.

For more information, contact Arcata Main Street at (707) 822-4500, arcatamainstreet.com or on Facebook.

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44 Responses to “Oyster Festival Will Charge $10 Admission This Year”

  1. Scott Binder

    $10 admission and $6 beers? Screw that. Farmers Market, Aqua-Rodeo Farm oysters, and my grill at home! No lines, even if there are less people.

  2. Krista Blevin

    And no stinky hippies.

  3. Scott Binder

    The $10 admission is designed to keep the smellabouts out of the venue, anyway. One just had to read between the lines.

  4. James Bacon Peltier

    We shall do a Bacon Ranch Oyster Fest!

  5. Amber Mangrum

    Maybe they could have considered offering somewhat discounted pre-sale tickets locally (not available online, but only at local outlets). Or maybe they just want all of us without much money to spend to stay off the Plaza that weekend. /shrugs

  6. Scott Binder

    We Shall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Gretchen Lightcap McLachlan

    Its all for the children and the environment people, so suck it up, or maybe some stupid mistakes by our city council. How about keep it free and find another way to raise money for mistakes made that decreased funding, no matter how you try to spin it, this still in my opinion is a bad and sneaky move, some families will absolutely not be able to afford it, but seems they don't really care about the local patrons who have supported it throughout the years. So have your free alchol wrist bands and push those beer sales, and count me and many families like ours out, shame on you arcata.

  8. James Bacon Peltier

    Well generally my family goes there and we drop about $150 in oysters and beer and other vendor food…. BUT NOT THIS YEAR OR EVER AGAIN…. ARCATA is the NEW PARASITE… line up your banks and token booths… and credit swipes…. and kiddy area… and smelly toilets… as I say GOOD BYE… Adeau!

  9. Arcata is generally so focused on promoting local business. We have a local credit card processing company right here, Eureka Payments. They donate their time and equipment to many local fundraisers and events. I wonder why an outside company is being used.

  10. Wendy Head-Chapman

    I don't eat oysters but we will go and people watch and spend money on other things.. We won't be going anymore.. Sad…

  11. Scott Mogol

    and get off my lawn, kids.

  12. I understand their reasoning in needing an admission income, but $10 seems pretty high.

  13. The Trouble was excellent last year but since they won't be back this year, turn it down.

  14. I would be OK if the charged $3.00 for young and old alike, but for $10.00 I won't be going. I guess all the folks that wanted short line will be happy. However, next year Arcata Main street will need to do all the cooking of oysters, because the vendors won't want to come back to a bad event.

  15. Well, said Gretchen!! It's not like they aren't rollin in the money with how many people show up to this.

  16. Shame on you Arcata! Way to kick the locals out! WTF? This is a food fest, not a music fest! Those are free in small towns like ours all across the country! Why are WE the jerks that charge? We are going to start a scholarship fund? Why don't we jsut have an OYSTER FESTIVAL TO PROMOTE OUR LOCAL AGRICULTURE. Oh wait that's what we were doing. Damn. Lets screw it up then, You;re right.

  17. Shame on you Arcata! Way to kick the locals out! WTF? This is a food fest, not a music fest! Those are free in small towns like ours all across the country! Why are WE the jerks that charge? We are going to start a scholarship fund? Why don't we jsut have an OYSTER FESTIVAL TO PROMOTE OUR LOCAL AGRICULTURE. Oh wait that's what we were doing. Damn. Lets screw it up then, You;re right.

  18. How can you promote local businesses and yet block off all the businesses that surround the Plaza? You're creating a money cage that does not help the local businesses.

  19. It should be free for ANYone that lives within earshot of the noise- or noseshot of the smell- So I have to hear it, lose all my parking, protect my plants from drunken assholes kicking them, smell rotting oysters for days- but I can't go cuz it costs $10 and I have too many bills cuz I live in DOWNTOWN ARCATA! Wow, Arcata. Wow.

  20. Blue moon is not a microbrew! It's made by Coors, but you already know this

  21. You can count my girlfriend, her daughter and I out. I have gone every year since this festival has started but I now say fuck you Arcata. I thought this was a joke when I first heard about it but now seeing it in print I will not justify there crappy idea by paying to hang out on the fucking plaza. Of all places, really the plaza???

  22. Gretchen Lightcap McLachlan

    Trying to make something "better" and skrewing it up in the process. Taking any sense of community out of the event, and promoting drinking and single out of towners by offering free alcohol wrist bands now, and pushing the over priced beer. Many local couples and families will not support this, but you say its to encourage a more family friendly event, total bs, you see $ signs, find another way to fund your scholarships or environmental donations, I'm sure people would support an event where the focus was funding important causes, that is not what oyster fest is about. Sharing our local jewels of the bay made in various ways by our well loved and local businesses and running into people you may not have seen in months or even years. Maybe coming just to make the rounds, possibly buy some art, or some food, show off are amazing festival to some out of town family who can't stay long, now its off limits to those who might not commit enough time to make the $10 fee worth it. Totally lame.

  23. What a joke!!! With the money they make off of that it should b free…i won't b goin!!! What a shame….

  24. Is Arcata Main Street going to scoop up the tips that are given to those serving beer again this year?

  25. Kimberly Jones Adams

    Can you get them? Coast Seafood said they are not selling any to the public for a while cause their supply is low.

  26. Walt Cordeiro

    bla bla bla I'M Sorry but the number you have dialed has been disconected!lol THE TRUTH is out there…durrrr

  27. Walt Cordeiro

    J/k this is pretty silly and we seem to have lost focus of what community is really about…..

  28. Danny Belo

    so we have money to make sure 100 cops are on the plaza for Halloween and we have money for another 100 cops to stand around and do nothing during 420 in the park. but we don't have money for oyster fest?

  29. Sarah Kern

    My boyfriend and I are not going this year and that's directly related to the $10 fee. We have LOVED the festival in the past. We shell out plenty of money.. beer bracelets, the beer itself, and all the food. It's a shame; you are going to deter many loyal festival-goers.

  30. Sheila Evans

    What's next Arcata? McDonald's? Wal Mart? the slipper slide begins with oysters…how fitting.

  31. Kevin Hoover

    We already have a McDonald's, newly remodeled. We used to have a Taco Bell and KFC, but they died.

  32. Nan Rad

    The Bay Area has come to Humboldt..welcome to the outside world. Festivals down here run at least 20$ & up..it's a way to weed out minorities and the poor.

  33. Kevin Hoover

    Nan, are you saying that Main Street is adding the admission fee because of white racism and classism?

  34. Noel Boquet-Ahmad

    LOL Really? 10 bucks? And how are you going to enforce this? Cage a public park? Well if that isn't in the spirit of free thinking Arcata! Sounds petty elitist if u ask me! Lets remove the low income families, students and eldery from the event and you will solve the problem. NOT. Oh not to mention springing this on the vendors last minute lol…You really should know better than to think this is going to work. All u are going to do is have a protest on your hands and fill up the bars and your record lowest sale of oysters, and keep the police busy on the outskirts of the festival. Brilliant thinking. Look if you cannot handle the workload of the event resign and give it to someone who can.

  35. Noel Boquet-Ahmad

    Yep…count this girl and her son Donovan out too!

  36. well said Phil…

  37. Scott Binder

    James and I ordered ours via Aqua-Rodeo Farms, who is a member of the North Coast Growers Association; a farmer's market member. Sebastian is a good guy, and graciously took our orders.

  38. Jeez, Walt; the whole COUNTRY has lost focus of what community is really all about. Why should Arcata be any different?

  39. Carol A. Thrasher

    Looks like your having fun! Lol

  40. Carol A. Thrasher

    Looks like your having fun! Lol

  41. Amber Mangrum

    Had a great time volunteering but I'm not sure where this comment came from 6 months later lol.


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