by Dev Richards
Humboldt County welcomes the summer with a traditional bivalve brouhaha and beer to boot. Every June, the Arcata Plaza is overtaken by keg-tappers, shell-shuckers and hullabaloo-havers for the Arcata Bay Oysterfest. This year, the melee of mollusks and merriment takes place on Saturday, June 14 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (free). That's right — it's free this year, but the fence is around to stay.
Local eateries and chefs take to their booths to serve a slew of locally produced shellfish, each recipe as mouthwatering as the next. Most of the oysters come straight from Humboldt Bay, so partaking is pretty much a civic duty. Wash down the slippery sustenance with a cold beer from any one of the local brewery booths, then peruse the vendor tables, games and children's activities. If oysters aren't your slimy cup of tea, that's okay; you'll have plenty of other delicacies to choose from.
The Striped Pig Band, DJ Stir Fry Willie, Motherlode and more local bands take the stage throughout the day, so there's never a dull moment. The festival wouldn't be complete without the ridiculous spectacle of the Oyster Calling and Shuck and Swallow contests. It's a hyper-local extravaganza of gluttony and excess, so show up with an empty stomach and an inclination for shellfish shenanigans.