Get ready, get set, slurp! The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum (BMSM) will hold its 3rd Annual Oyster Eating Contest at The Timbers Restaurant and Fish Market on April 21 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Admission is free.
Twenty-five contestants, sponsored by Island businesses, will compete to consume as many mollusks as they can in one minute and help raise funds for the Museum. Lamar Williams won last year’s event by downing 48 mollusks, and he plans to fend off the competition again to retain his title.
Clay Miller of NBC-2 returns as master of ceremonies. Admission is free, and participants may enter the contest with a minimum $250 sponsorship. All proceeds will benefit the BMSM exhibits and educational programs.
There are many ways to “win” in this year’s competition! Categories include: Grand Champion, 2nd Place and 3rd Place, Female Champion, Best Oyster Attire, Most Clams (Money) Collected (more than $1,000), and Most Team Spirit!
Oyster eating contests are definitely not the time and place to clam up! Team spirit has always played an important part of the contest, as the oysters eaters seem to slurp even faster when they have a wild and crazy rooting section coming out of its shell to encourage them.
In the past, contestant supporters have waved signs, tooted noisemakers and yelled, whistled and cheered their oyster eater on to victory. They have also supported the Museum at the event by purchasing delicious food and refreshing drinks donated by The Timbers.
This year, a woman’s watch provided by Lily & Co. will be raffled, and there will be crafts and face-painting for the kids.
Raffle tickets for the watch may be purchased in advance at the Museum, Bailey’s General Store (Richard Johnson), Bank of the Islands (Rob Lisenbee), Sanibel-Captiva Trust Company (James Young), and The Timber’s Restaurant (Mark Blust). You need not be present at the event to win.
So even if you’re not a contestant, come out to the event, cheer on your favorite mollusk muncher, sample some Timbers seafood (at your own pace!), have a great time, and help support The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.