Pass Christian Oyster festival doesn't skip a beat

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - The second annual Oyster Festival wrapped up in Pass Christian Sunday. However, considering the gloomy season Mississippi Oystermen had last year, many were left wondering how the festival was even possible.

In the final day of Pass Christian's Oyster Fest, event planners were pleased to see crowds in the thousands all itching to calm their cravings.

"Yesterday alone, the street and the whole place was so good and packed up, that I mean it was just elbow room only and the vendors and everybody did wonderful," Harbor Master, Willie Davis said.

One hundred twenty vendors to be exact, serving up crowd pleasers like spicy gumbo, sweet kettle corn and a slush to wash it all down. They're each as appetizing as the next, but one question lingers. What about the oysters? Victor Pickich, Manager of The Dock Restaurant said the oysters just kept rolling in.

"The oysters have been plentiful. They're very large in size and I've got no complaints so far," Pickich said. Some would think that would be a startling statement considering the less than ideal Summer Mississippi Oystermen had."

As you may recall many local oystermen sounded off about bad catches this Summer after residual problems with the oil spill and the massive flooding along the Mississippi river.

"Oyster season in Mississippi was closed down. They opened it up for a few days and winded up closing it down and we're still getting that thing about the oil spill. Then we hear that they opened up the gates with the fresh water," Davis said.

It's no secret that it was a tough season for Mississippi Oystermen. But as organizers at the oyster fest see it, the show must go on.

"It hasn't effected the event because we're getting oysters from Crystal Seafood, which is one of our sponsors also. They help us. They get oysters from Alabama and Louisiana and that has helped us out a great deal," Davis said.

There's no question that the city will remain loyal to local oystermen, but in order for the event survive, this year they had to rely on other resources.

"Our local season has been closed, but I think once it comes back it's going to come back in full force and we're going to see some really pretty oysters out of it," Pickich said.

Next year Oyster Fest organizers hope to see the event grow even more and of course feature some home grown oysters.

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