By Janis Seminara
Even though the foliage hasn't really begun to burst into full color, autumn on Long Island is magical. This past Sunday, at the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay, leaves spun off their trees in a swirling wind which beckoned the fall to switch gears. The sights and sounds of Autumn were present in the air delectable with scent of gourmet fare, throngs of happy people cuddled in sweatshirts and sweaters, now unencumbered by the oppressive heat and humidity of this past summer and celebrating the end of eight days of pelting rain. I have missed a few fall festivals due to the weather, but I was very happy to have ventured out to Oyster Bay for the 22nd Annual Oyster Festival.
Driving to the festival, I hit some traffic, but was happy to see signs that noted parking for the festival along the way. I pulled in a parking lot and discovered that school buses were chartering visitors to and from the festival. I was very impressed with how organized it all was, and noticed as I got closer to our destination that it would have been very difficult if not impossible to find a parking space, or even to drive close to the festival. The bus dropped us off and I noticed signs denoting pick-up stations for various parking lots which had accommodated festival guests.
When I saw the ships from a distance, I headed straight for the docks. The sight of the H.M.S. Bounty with its sails rolled up against a crisp bluish grey sky, banners waving in the wind and the sound of a cannon coming from the dock gave me a sort of Dj vu. Yes, I did say cannon, a small one, because at the boardwalk was a pirate encampment and a treasure hunt. For a small fee, my son and I boarded the H.M.S. Bounty - a haunted tall ship, and we were greeted by a pirate/skeleton. The ship's galley was dark and narrow as we weaved our way around some pretty scary scenes. Alas, when I saw the light of day, we bee-lined to the craft fair.
The craft fair was tented, which made it pleasant to linger over 100 crafters. Candles, jewelry, artwork, clothes, toys, all beautiful hand crafted items great for holiday giving. The whole scene reminded me of a mini Pike Street Market in Seattle, Washington, because of the water off in the distance, and the booths overlooking the docks. After some shopping we headed for the food court and passed a petting zoo along the way.
At the food court we found Oysters, husked roasted corn on cob, zeppolis, calamari, burgers, soups, gumbos, beverages, cotton candy, just to name a few. My son and I opted for a seafood wrap and a dish of freshly peeled and fried potato chips. At last we sat down to eat, and after just a taste of those golden delicious chips, a great gust of wind came and took the entire plate of chips away. I held onto my seafood wrap and decided to head back for the bus, which was easy to find, because of the signs that they had posted.
If you missed this great event and plan on going next year, you can easily spend the day. I missed the shucking contest, but next time I intend to go earlier and stay later.