Binge on Bivalves at Newport Oyster Festival

The shellfish-packed weekend supports a worthy cause – the health of Rhode Island's marine life – and each ticket includes six local oysters, a beverage, live music and more.

In Rhode Island, summer means so much more than nice weather and beach days. It’s dining by the ocean while watching the sunset, listening to live music on the patio of your favorite bar or attending one of the dozens of festivals that happen around the state. One that should top your list and help start your summer is the fourth annual Newport Oyster Festival.

Held on Bowen’s Wharf and sponsored by Moët and Chandon, the event promises to be a fun-filled weekend to support a worthy cause: the health of the marine life of Rhode Island.

On Friday, May 17, the Opening Night Benefit Party will kick off the celebration. Sip a complimentary Moët Mini as you taste fresh, local oysters (all-you-can-eat, by the way) and meet the farmers who cultivate them and make up the Rhode Island Oyster Trail, a true “ocean-to-table” experience. The elegant evening will feature an open bar with hand-crafted cocktails, Chelley Knight and the Daybreaks as live entertainment and a specialty seafood bar. The proceeds from your $125 ticket will benefit the Ocean State Aquaculture Association, the Nature Conservancy and SSV Oliver Hazard Perry. But you’d better get them soon; there are only 200 tickets available.

Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and 19, are a bit more laid back but filled with just as many bivalves and bubbly. Your ticket, purchased online in advance for $27 or for $35 on the day of the festival (if there are any left), will include six oysters and a beverage from one of the sponsors. Kids younger than twelve are free.

In addition to enjoying six live bands throughout the weekend, multiple waterfront bars and local cuisine under festival tents, guests are invited to explore the wharf and learn more about the aquaculture of Rhode Island and the many local growers who provide eateries around the state with the freshest seafood available. The shucking contest also takes place on Sunday.

Not a fan of seafood? No worries! Restaurants such as the Wharf Pub, Matunuck Oyster Bar, Speakeasy, Diego’s and 22 Bowen’s will have chefs’ best picks available to purchase in appetizer sizes, and they are including some non-seafood offerings as well. Popular Bowen’s Wharf eateries like Sprinkles Ice Cream, Anchor Toffee and the Cookie Jar are joined by Sweet B’s Donuts, if you’re looking to satisfy that sweet tooth.

There’s also space in the marina to spend the night during the festival! If you book your slip at Bowen’s Wharf by May 15, you’ll receive two free tickets for Saturday or Sunday.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit



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