Three days of fun, food, entertainment on multiple stages, plus special events for families and friends, from nine to ninety marks just some of the activities to be found at the 2018 Norwalk Oyster Festival hosted by the Seaport Association on Friday, September 7, Saturday, September 8, and Sunday, September 9, 2018 at the 35-acre Veterans Memorial Park in Norwalk. “This is a special year for the Seaport Association, we have entered our 41st year as an organization and we are also celebrating the 150th anniversary of Sheffield Island Lighthouse. Our mission has always been to preserve our maritime heritage, the environment of Long Island Sound, and to have children experience Sheffield Island Lighthouse,” says Mike Reilly, President of the Norwalk Oyster Festival.
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The 2018 Norwalk Oyster Festival has live music from dozens of bands on multiple stages throughout the weekend and features a variety of crowd-pleasing entertainment. “The Oyster Festival is the last big thing that takes place before the end of the summer. This is the perfect time for folks to come to the Festival and say goodbye to the summer of 2018, and to help us celebrate 150 years of the Sheffield Island Lighthouse,” says Mike Reilly, President of the Norwalk Oyster Festival.
Funky Dawgz kicks off the festival on Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. on the Main Stage with an exuberant performance that combines a contagious upbeat mix of traditional New Orleans R&B, original music, hip-hop, funk, and today’s top hits played with a brass twist. The amazingly talented New Orleans style jazz- funk band, Deep Banana Blackout takes the Main Stage at 9 p.m. and the festival audience will be treated to Grade A+ funk. This eight piece musical ensemble is a legendary musical force on the East Coast underground funk, jazz and jam scenes and considered by many to be one of the hottest, hippest live shows to be heard in the Northeast.
On September 8 at 8 p.m. Festival Headliner, Steve Augeri, Journey, the former lead singer takes the Main Stage and will take festival-goers on a “journey” well worth taking. Expect fan friendly audience interactions, a strong stage presence, soaring vocals and hit after hit of iconic classic rock songs like Don’t Stop Believing, Any way You Want It, Faithfully, Loving, Touching, Feeling and many other hits. Fans may even be in for an exclusive treat if Augeri decides to include an original new song or two in the mix that has thrilled audiences worldwide.
It’s 5’oclock somewhere, and on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 4 p.m. Jimmy Kenny and the Pirate Beach Band plugin on the Main Stage. So, put on your best “Parrothead” gear, grab some food and drinks from one of the nearby vendors and get ready to sing and dance along to some of the best of Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney and the Zac Brown Band plus a variety of country favorites, summer pop, reggae and tropical classics that are the perfect finale to the 2018 Oyster Festival.
For the Kids
Children of all ages will be engaged and entertained by an enthralling magic act filled with amazing illusions. This captivating live show delights the audience with magic on the high seas as conjured up by award-winning, Master Magician Doc Swan. Expect lots of audience participation in this show that is suitable for all ages. Fantastic illusions, magic, juggling, clowns and more take place under the big tent. On Saturday and Sunday kids get to meet their favorite characters from today’s most popular movies and TV shows including their favorite princesses and super heroes.
The fun doesn’t stop with the magic show. There are photo opportunities with characters, face painting, and pint sized carnival games like the ring toss and lollipop tree where every child is winner, plus cotton candy, popcorn and candied apples. Kids activities and games take place at Kids Cove throughout the day.
Best if all, these activities won’t break the bank! On Saturday and Sunday there are special packages and meals at many food booths available for children with the highlight being a special $25 wristband for unlimited rides from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days. Sunday is Family Day when kids 12 and under get in free with a paid adult; there are also special kids meals and the $25 wristband for unlimited rides from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
For the Whole Family
The festival offers a wide array of attractions the whole family will enjoy, including continuous entertainment by local musicians and national acts. One of the acts sure to amaze festival goers is the Nerveless Nocks Thrill Show that has been dazzling audiences with their highflying death-defying performances for eight generations!
Another family favorite is the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show that combines old-time skills with a modern entertainment style that is sure to delight. In addition to wood chopping, the audience will see amazing feats such as logrolling, ax throwing (yes, they are sharp), crosscut sawing, underhand chopping, precision chainsaw racing and chainsaw carving.
If you have always wanted a birds eye view of the city, the fairgrounds and Norwalk’s beautiful coast line, climb onboard the 65 foot Gondola Ferris wheel to be treated to a unique and memorable ride you can write home about. All you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy. And, don’t forget your camera.
If you like to shop, head to the Arts and Crafts area where there more than 100 fine artists and crafters that display whimsical as well as practical items that appeal to all tastes, budgets and ages. Jewelry, paintings, pottery, sculpture, clothing, home décor and wearable art are just some of the treasures to be found here.
For the Foodies
A favorite at any festival is the food, and the Norwalk Oyster Festival never disappoints. After exploring the fairgrounds head to the International Food Court that dishes up everything from Mexican, Columbian and Italian to funnel cakes, cotton candy and of course, oysters fresh off the boat, authentic New England lobster dinners and fresh lobster rolls. This culinary fare is prepared by dozens of local nonprofit organizations allowing them to raise vital funds for their charitable causes. At the Seaport Tent, learn about Norwalk’s oystering history while watching slurping and shucking contests. And, if you have worked up a thirst, no worries head to the craft beer tent that offers more than forty beers.
The event is held at Veteran’s Park, adjacent to Norwalk Harbor on Seaview Avenue in Norwalk, CT. Admission for adults is $10 on Friday, $12 on Saturday and Sunday. Senior tickets are $10 all days. Children 5-12 year’s old are $5. Children under 5 and U.S. military personnel on active duty are free. Tickets can be purchased online at www.seaport.org.
Festival Hours: Friday, Sept. 7, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, September 8 from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., and Sunday, September 9 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For those that want to take the train Metro North is offering a discount package with free shuttle service from the train station to the Oyster Festival.
Free parking and shuttle service available from Calf Pasture Beach, Norwalk City Hall and Norwalk Community College.
About the Norwalk Seaport Association
The Norwalk Seaport Association was founded in 1978 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, education and public awareness of Norwalk’s maritime environment and heritage. The Seaport Association and its volunteers are solely responsible for organizing and financing the Oyster Festival. In addition to the Oyster Festival, the Norwalk Seaport Association owns Sheffield Lighthouse and its volunteers maintain the lighthouse and grounds as a museum and nature preserve. For more information, visit www.seaport.org. or call (203) 838-9444.