The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum in conjunction with Timbers Restaurant and Fish Market on Sanibel island will host the First Annual Edible Mollusk Festival & Oyster-Eating Contest on Saturday, April 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event heralds the upcoming unveiling of the museum's new edible mollusk exhibit, "MMM . . . Mollusks!"
The Festival will take place in the Timbers parking lot, 703 Tarpon Bay Road, on Sanibel Island.
Festivities will include a dunk tank, Boston Fish Toss, and face painting and crafts for children. Island crafty lady, Anne Joffe, will help the children create edible mollusk magnets.
Dr. Jos H. Leal, museum director and curator will conduct a min-workshop on shells produced by edible mollusks and Timbers' culinary experts will present min-workshops on cooking edible mollusks. Beer, oysters on the half shell, oyster shooters and other special delicacies will be sold, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the museum's educational fund. Lily & Co. donated a 16-inch double Biwa pearl shell necklace with blue topaz gemstones which will be raffled off.
The highlight of the event will be an oyster eating contest. Local businesses have sponsored teams charged with generating $250 of pledges. The team roster includes Lily's & Co. Jewelers, Jacaranda, She Sells Sea Shells, Bailey's General Store, Timbers Restaurant, Matzaluna, Doc Ford's, Rotary, Times of The Islands, Kiwanis, Trader's Restaurant, Sanibel Community Bank, Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and Al Marti.
Each team has chosen an "oyster eater" who will be given 90 seconds to down as many pre- shucked oysters on the half shell as possible. The winning team will be awarded the coveted Edible Mollusk Festival & Oyster-Eating Contest trophy. Oyster eaters will be awarded a signed, framed, cartoon designed for the event by renowned cartoonist, Dave Horton.
Honorary judges include Judie Zimomra, Dan Schuyler, Mick Denham, Marty Harrity and Matt Asen. NBC-2 anchor, Clay Miller will serve as the master of ceremonies.