Christmastime heralds a much anticipated event on Ocracoke—the annual Oyster Roast at the Ocracoke Seafood Company from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 27.
This year is the ninth year for this fundraiser for the Ocracoke Working Watermen’s Association which operates “the fish house,” as it is called, that supports the activities of about 30 commercial fishermen.
“We’re down-to-earth and homey,” said Patty Plyer, who along with her husband fisherman Hardy Plyler, works at the Fish House and helps organize the roast. “We’re all about community and how important it is to have fresh, local fish for sale.”
Along with all the oysters you can eat, there will be steamed shrimp and fish stew, the latter courtesy of Vince O’Neal, a fisherman who also owns Pony Island Restaurant.
For this annual oyster fest, the group sets up two rows of plywood tables on top of saw horses. Then they dump piles of steamed oysters on the tables while patrons, who are asked to bring their own oyster shuckers, stand and shuck away. Included in the price of admission (to be determined when the oysters are purchased) is cocktail sauce, vinegar, Saltine crackers and steamed shrimp.
Dessert and hot cider follows from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Working Waterman’s Exhibit in Community Square. Islanders and visitors alike are asked to bring a dessert to share.
The fundraiser grosses several thousand dollars each year and proceeds will help fund OWWA’s education and outreach activities.
Availability of food is first-come, first-served and there are no advance ticket sales. Inclement weather will not cancel the event, but it will move inside.
The fish house closes for the winter after Thanksgiving weekend and opens again in the spring when the waters are warmer and the fish return usually in March.