Oyster Eat slides into Georgetown tonight

Elbow and eating room was a premium at the Georgetown Fire Company’s 2017 Oyster Eat.

GEORGETOWN — Socializing, fraternizing and oysters are on deck tonight at the Georgetown Fire Company’s largest annual fundraiser.

The 81st edition of the fire company’s historic Oyster Eat takes center stage at Station 77 on South Bedford Street from 8 p.m. until midnight.

The all-you-can-eat bonanza features raw and steamed oysters, plus hot dogs, popcorn, hard-boiled eggs and egg salad sandwiches, which are prepared by the Georgetown Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary.

Entertainment features nationally renowned bluegrass artist Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass. Mr. Paisley was the International Bluegrass Music Association 2016 Male Vocalist of the Year award.

“That is a big hit. He’s got a lot of followers,” said Michael Briggs, the fire company’s Oyster Eat chairman.

Beverages include Coors Light and 16 Mile Brewery’s special Responders along with soda and water.

“We always include 16 Mile because they are in Georgetown, and they support the fire company,” said Mr. Briggs.

The Responders brew was made specifically for the Oyster Eat and made its debut at an Eat several years ago. Now, 16 Mile donates a monetary percentage of every case of Responders sold in support of the National Fallen Firefighters Association, Mr. Briggs said.

Featured attractions include the auction for this year’s oyster knife and sheath, again handcrafted by Rocky Green

This year’s Oyster Eat Knife, made by Rocky and Neal Green, landed a high bid of $3,300.

and son Neil Green, and a gun raffle drawing for a Beretta over/under 20-gauge shotgun.

While not officially advertised as “stag only,” very few women have taken part as patrons in Oyster Eat history, preferring the Lewes Fire Department Ladies-Only Shrimp Feast, which is also tonight at the Lewes Fire Station.

Started in the 1933 by the fire company as a fundraiser, the Oyster Eat has evolved into a social gathering and reunion, combining food and drink with camaraderie and fellowship.

“People come from all over. It’s like the one time in the year they all get together and talk and have fun together; the camaraderie,” said Mr. Briggs, noting patrons — many of them former Georgetown residents — have traveled from South Carolina, Arizona, Maine and Florida to attend.

The Oyster Eat was recognized by the United States Congress for its “historical and cultural significance” during U.S. Rep. Michael Castle’s tenure in Washington.

Its immense notoriety also landed a feature spread in the New York Times in 1992.

The event was not held several years during World War II. One year in its early days the Oyster Eat was canceled because supply costs were too high, Mr. Briggs said. “And that was $8.15; they didn’t have it,” said Mr. Briggs.

Tickets are $27 purchased in advance; $30 at door. They are available at Schagrin Gas in Lewes, Baker’s True Value Hardware in Millsboro, 16 Mile Brewing Company in Georgetown, First State Chevrolet in Georgetown or from any Georgetown Fire Company member.

For more information, contact the Georgetown Fire Company at 856-7700.

Luncheon

The GFC’s Ladies Auxiliary will hold a luncheon today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the fire station. For purchase will be chicken salad sandwiches and containers, chicken and rice soup, chili, burgers and cheeseburgers.

Shrimp Feast

Tickets for the Lewes Shrimp Feat are available at the main fire station at 347 Savannah Road.

There will be shrimp, soup, sandwiches, and beer along with cash drawings, raffles for jewelry and gift baskets.

Call 302-645-6556 for more information.

Sussex County Post News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com.

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