Keeping up with the Kumamotos


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Consider the virtues of our local celebrities: Cultivating oysters improves our oceans and its flora and fauna. Their ground shells boost your victory garden. They produce the preferred jewelry of Audrey Hepburn. Without a central nervous system, oysters are likely feeling no more pain than you after those festival drink tokens are spent. The little shuckers are also plump with omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and protein. And unlike that righteously austere plate of zoodles, they taste marvelous.

Lucky for us we live in a hotbed of oyster beds. Revel in your good fortune on Saturday, June 18, at the 26th annual Arcata Oyster Festival from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (free entry). An army of vendors will be shelling out bivalve delights from shooters to tacos, as well as land-locked goodies, beer and wine (taps open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., so plan your queue-up and sober ride).

Between the noon oyster calling contest, the Shuck and Swallow race at 2 p.m. and Fred Oystaire's announcement of the Best Raw, Best Cooked and Best Non-oyster winners at 3:45 p.m., there'll be a bevy of musical acts. DJ Stir-fry Willie, The Honky Tonk Detours, Absynth Quartet, Naïve Melodies and Dynasty One are all taking turns on the stage. Kids can hit the FLUPSY, or oyster nursery area, for pint-sized entertainment like puppetry, balloon animals, free ice cream and more. Shells, yeah.

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