October 15, 2012 -- More than 20,000 oyster enthusiasts flocked to Wellfleet's town center this weekend to experience all things shellfish and to revel in the always exciting shucking competition.
"We were at absolute capacity — a phenomenal turnout," Wellfleet Shellfish Promotion and Tasting (SPAT) president Mac Hay said of the crowd on Saturday.
The rainy weather on Sunday may have thinned out the throngs a bit, but for some that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
"In a way, it's nice," Hay said. "It keeps some of the bigger crowds out and you see more local fans."
Hay estimated that 80,000 oysters were consumed on Saturday alone, but the exact figure for the weekend won't be known for a few days. He said they anticipate having almost 6 tons of shells to contribute to the shell recycling effort, which is a big part of the event's mission.
"Not only is (OysterFest) a boost to our economy on an otherwise slow weekend in October, but it funds many local initiatives including the oyster restoration project, an important local cause," Hay said.
In addition to SPAT, representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration helped coordinate the recycling effort and provided additional volunteer support to the event.
Like many of the shuck-off competitors, Keith Rose, owner of Wellfleet Fisheries Inc., is particularly familiar with oysters as part of his business.
"Every day is OysterFest for me," he said.
Read the full story at Cape Cod Online