Bigger, better BC Shellfish Festival about to begin in Comox Valley

Nothing says West Coast like a freshly shucked oyster on the half shell and a glass of sparkling white wine.

Nothing says West Coast like a freshly shucked oyster on the half shell and a glass of sparkling white wine.

The seventh annual BC Shellfish Festival, the largest of its kind on the West Coast, is about to get bigger, expanding to 10 days of celebrating all things good from the sea.

It will run from June 6 to 16 in the Comox Valley, the oyster-growing capital of Canada.

Along with the popular chef’s dinner and festival day on the Comox Harbour, new experiences and events have been added to this year’s celebration.

In addition to winery and shellfish pairing events, Fanny Bay Oysters is giving insider looks at the business and science of growing and harvesting shellfish with regular tours of their operation. And Comox Harbour Charters is offering cruises to a deep-water oyster farm in Baynes Sound.

For the active-minded, festival-going shellfish lover, bike tour company Island Joy Rides has put together a special tour dubbed, Love is in the Air … Ride a Bike and Eat Oysters!

This unique weekend getaway June 14 to 16, offers plenty of opportunities to cycle and indulge, and includes all the support needed to explore under one’s own power, while knocking back a few raw oysters along the way.

Eight popular restaurants including Atlas Café, Locals and the Blackfin Pub will put the BC Shellfish Festival on your plate by showcasing local oysters, geoducks, clams and other delectable shellfish on their daily fresh sheets throughout the festival.

“It is a time in the year when we celebrate what the region is renowned for,” says Edd Moyes, owner of the Blackfin Pub.

Local hotels, motels and resorts are also getting in on the shellfish celebration offering Slurp and Stay packages.

“There is so much for people to see and experience, that we want to make it easier for visitors to come and stay and take it all in,” says Linda Bridgman, sales and convention services manager at the Best Western Plus Westerly Hotel.

The Discover Comox Valley website lists the variety of accommodation options with packages ranging from $65 to $129 in addition to a list of events, tours, ideas and inspiration.

Festivities kick off June 6 as expert mixologists converge on the Flying Canoe Pub in downtown Courtenay for the second annual Mott’s Best Caesar in Town Competition, with buck-a-shuck oysters on offer that bring the bounty of the ocean inside.

The sold-out main event opens June 14 with the Chef’s Dinner at the historic Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park.

This year’s event pairs William Tse of Vancouver’s Sandbar Restaurant; Jonathan Frazier of Atlas Café; Takashi Ito of Inn at Laurel Point; and other talented chefs with B.C. shellfish growers, resulting in culinary creations that will send guests into rapture.

June 15 is festival day at the Comox Marina Park and it’s jam-packed with innovative tastings and shellfish shenanigans. Concession booths and beer gardens open for business at noon, followed by cooking demonstrations at 12:15 p.m. on the Gazebo Stage. Next up is the Comox Valley Chowder Challenge, before the festival reaches its raucous conclusion with the Fanny Bay Oysters BC Oyster Shucking Championships.

“We’re seeing great community support rally around this festival since it’s inception in 2007,” says Matthew Wright, executive director of the BC Shellfish Festival. “And the festival has brought the sea-to-table excitement of shellfish to a growing numbers of oyster aficionados and other shellfish lovers anxious to learn more about why the Comox Valley is quickly emerging as a top shelf culinary destination.”

As this festival has grown and become an integral part of the Comox Valley’s tourism mix, so too has the prominence of the shellfish industry.

Oysters, clams and other shellfish contribute greatly to the Comox Valley’s deepening reputation as a culinary destination worthy of an extended visit, with its award-winning local wineries, diverse farming community and rich offering of dining establishments. The shellfish industry contributes more than $28 million to the region and helps support an estimated 600 families.

For more information on the shellfish festival events and to buy tickets or book packages, visit www.discovercomoxvalley.com or call the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre at 1-855-400-2882.

— Discover Comox Valley

 

Just Posted

Denman Island Summer Art Gallery opening show May 30

The first show of the Denman Island Summer Art Gallery season promises… Continue reading

Trail and parking upgrades beginning at Seal Bay Park

Park upgrade work is planned at the Comox Valley Regional District’s (CVRD)… Continue reading

More than 2 million salmon to be released into Puntledge River

Water flows will be higher than usual next week

Woman assaulted at Bill Moore Park in Courtenay

Female grabbed from behind Thursday morning

189 Port Augusta celebrates cadets

The annual ceremonial review of the 189 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps… Continue reading

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read