Estimated 12,000 attend Lowcountry Oyster Festival

Published: Jan. 25, 2015 at 8:48 PM EST
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - An estimated 12,000 came out for the 32nd annual Lowcountry Oyster Festival on Sunday.

Festival organizers say it's the world's largest oyster festival and even with the live music and children's areas, the shellfish is still the big draw.

"I love oysters," Tina Bayard who is visiting Charleston said. "We were just talking about it and it's very strategic and I think we're going to get two buckets."

John Gadsen Thornhill goes by the name of John G. He's the owner of Charleston Bay Gourmet and his small catering company has been cooking the 80,000 pounds of oysters for the last 20 years.

"They know what they're doing," Al Simmons, a Charleston Restaurant Association board member said. "We can trust them and they're so good at it. They're great with our guests, and they really make this event a great time."

Gadsen says the oysters come is fresh from the Chesapeake.

"We take it bag by bag and put them in our baskets, pressure wash them, clean them as best we can, and then we put them in the steamers, let them in there three to five or six minutes and then to the table," Gadsen said.

Gadsen says it takes a lot of time and planning to cook that many oysters, but says he and his team love it.

"It's a challenge, and [we do it] for the community and to promote oysters and promote the lowcountry because nobody else can do it," Gadsen said. "We're the only one in the entire world!"

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