Annual Fests for Foodies, Virginia’s Eastern Shore

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LOCAL EATS

Sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia’s Eastern Shore is home to dozens of festivals and celebrations centered around the region’s abundant fresh seafood and rich agricultural traditions.

FARM TO TABLE

A growing number of small organic farms, aqua farmers and small-batch food producers are both reviving historic food traditions and inventing new ones. The epicurean mix ranges from down-home cooking and big seafood fests to elegant, chef-led extravaganzas.

FALL OYSTER ROASTS

Oyster roasts are a long-standing tradition here as the weather begins to cool. Nearly every weekend is punctuated by an oyster roast or seafood feast, but we eat them all year round due to modern aqua farming. This symbol next to an event means oysters are on the menu:

 



JANUARY 2018

Saturday, January 27
Virginia Tech Alumni Association Oyster Roast
Accomac, VA
This event is an Eastern Shore classic. Mix and mingle with locals over tables of freshly roasted oysters or warm up with a cup of clam chowder. Fill up on chicken and desserts and wash it all down with beer or a cocktail from the cash bar.
Tickets may be available at the door, call (757) 710-0049 for information.

FEBRUARY 2018

Friday and Saturday, February 16 & 17
Death By Chocolate
Chincoteague, VA
Wander from shop to shop on Chincoteague’s picturesque Main Street sampling chocolate treats as you go. Visit the Historic Main Street Merchants to pick up a card and collect a stamp at each shop and you’ll be entered to win a door prize. Chocolate and free prizes? Talk about a win-win.
Learn More

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Saturday, February 24
Barrier Island Center Oyster Roast

Machipongo, VA
February may seem like a chilly time to hold an oyster roast, but the Barrier Islands Center pulls out all the stops to keep guests warm and toasty during their annual shindig. Visitors can dine on roasted oysters, clams, pork barbecue, grilled chicken and sides in the comfort of a heated tent. There are also plenty of hot, freshly roasted peanuts to keep your fingers warm – and coffee from Eastern Shore Coastal Roasting Company to warm you from the inside out. For those who want something with a bit more kick to drink, there is a selection of beer and local Chatham Vineyards wine on hand.
Tickets On Sale January 23


MARCH 2018

Oyster
Saturday, March 3
Shore Little League Oyster Roast
Exmore, VA
Warm up on a winter evening with freshly roasted oysters, a cup of clam chowder or some steamed clams. Get a taste of smoky southern barbecue, dance to live music or wine something special in the silent auction. You’ll really feel like a local as you open oysters in Exmore’s Town Park at this community event.
Call 757-693-1896 for more information.

Wednesday, March 7
David Long’s Clamtastic Chowder Dinner
Cheriton, VA
You’ve probably heard of Manhattan and New England clam chowder, but the Eastern Shore of Virginia has its very own style of clam chowder. It’s broth-based and clear. Get a taste of this local specialty along with grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, corn on the cob and homemade desserts.
Get Details

Oyster
Friday, March 23
Eastville Volunteer Fire Department Oyster Roast
Eastville, VA
Gatherings in fire halls are a long standing tradition on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and this one is sure to be a good time. There will be roasted oyster, steamed clams, oysters on the half shell, pulled pork and all the fixings. For $5 you can purchase a beer mug with two drink tickets. Additional drink tickets are $2. There will also be live music and a silent auction.
Get Details 


APRIL 2018

Sunday, April 8
Taste of the Shore
Onley, VA
Sample items from the Eastern Shore of Virginia’s best restaurants all in one place. Eating all of the region’s top dishes would be no easy task, but at Taste of the Shore you can sample the Shore’s best offerings all in one place.
Get Details

Saturday, April 14
Beach Bash Oyster Roast

YMCA Camp Silver Beach
Come for an afternoon of fun when cook masters “steam up the beach” at the YMCA’s Camp Silver Beach, featuring an all-you-can-eat menu of steamed and roasted oysters, clams, chowder, BBQ and all the fixin’s. Sip wine from local and award-winning Chatham Vineyards, enjoy on-tap craft beer, and tap your foot to live entertainment on the gorgeous deck. A silent auction features original artwork by local carvers and artists.
For Tickets, Call 757-442-4634


Saturday, April 21
Virginia’s Eastern Shore Land Trust Oyster Roast

Parksley, VA
Home to thousands of acres of parks and protected land, some of the Eastern Shore’s most beautiful and historic estates are private and closed to the public. One exception is the annual Virginia’s Eastern Shore Land Trust Oyster Roast. Indulge on oysters, clams, wine, beer, spirits, dinner, and dessert while enjoying beautiful views on a local estate protected by the VES Land Trust conservation easement. Bid on one-of-a-kind auction items and take your chances in the raffle! Space is limited and this is always a popular event, so, book early!
For Tickets, Call 757-442-5885

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Saturday, April 28
Shore Craft Beer Fest
Chincoteague, VA
This end of spring event combines the two worlds of craft beer and barbecue, and features local food truck fare and famous Island Creamery treats. The purchase of a craft beer bracelet gives you unlimited number of craft beer samples from regional breweries. A Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned barbecue competition will leave your mouth watering. It’s kid and pet friendly too.
Get Tickets

Saturday, April 28
Welcome Back Oyster Roast
Cape Charles, VA
Kick off the camping season with an oyster roast at Chesapeake Bay KOA. There’s plenty of seafood with Chesapeake Bay clams and oyster, plus sides like mac and cheese, corn on the cob and baked beans. After you’ve gotten your fill, dance the night away to live music.
For tickets, call 757-331-1776

Saturday, April 28
Cape Charles Historical Society Low Country Shrimp Boil

Cape Charles, VA
This classic Low Country-style shrimp feast at the Cape Charles Museum features steamed shrimp with red potatoes, corn on the cob, smoked sausage, onion and peppers. Keep an eye out for local clams as well. The shrimp boil is accompanied by homemade rolls, coleslaw, desserts and beverages. Beer and wine is available. In addition to the feast there is a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle and live music.
For Tickets, Email ccmuseum@hughes.net


MAY TO OCTOBER 2018


Fridays
Steamers, Suds & Sounds on C-Pier Concert Series

Cape Charles, VA
This Friday night outdoor concert series, right on the water, starts in May and goes through late summer. Feast on fresh local seafood —  blue crabs, oysters, clams, shrimp — with sides of potatoes and sweet corn. It’s at The Oyster Farm at Kings Creek, a restaurant and marina with breathtaking views out over the Chesapeake Bay from every corner. Free admission; food and drink purchase optional.
Get Details


MAY 2018

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Saturday, May 5
Chincoteague Seafood Festival

Chincoteague, VA
Held in the tiny resort island of Chincoteague, this festival has been a tradition for over four decades. This seafood extravaganza gives you a taste of the best local seafood featuring raw oysters and clams, single fried oysters, clam fritters, shrimp, steamed clams, fried fish, clam chowder and clam strips. There are also plenty of sides with a full salad bar, sweet potato and boardwalk fries and hush puppies. There is live entertainment and beer is available for purchase.
Get Tickets

Saturday, May 19
Crabby Blues Festival
Cape Charles, VA
Cape Charles’ annual Crabby Blues Festival boasts fun for the whole family with a selection of live music, fresh-caught steamed crabs, a kids play area, arts and crafts vendors, a silent auction and pop-up food. In addition to great local music this festival serves up the freshest crabs in town, as boats bring in their day’s haul of crabs to the park, where they are steamed and served by the dozen. It’s a great finish to a day at the free beach steps from the busy town center.
Get More Information 


June 2018

Sunday, June 3
Picnic @ the Barn
Eastville, VA
Enjoy a slice of Americana at this picnic in a century-old barn on historic Cherry Grove Farm along the banks of Cherry Stone Creek. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket and a cooler for your favorite adult beverage. Fill your plate with barbecue, baked beans, potato salad, cornbread and homemade desserts and listen to live music.
Get Tickets


Wednesday-Saturday, June 20-July 14
Wachapreague Fireman’s Carnival
Wachapreague, VA
Nothing says small towns in the summer like a fireman’s carnival. On the Eastern Shore of Virginia, carnival food isn’t limited to cotton candy and snow cones. At the Wachapreague Carnival, you’ll find oyster fritter sandwiches, clam fritter sandwiches, crab cakes and soft shell crab sandwiches right alongside the hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and fries. You can even try your luck winning dessert. On Fridays and Saturdays cakes from local bakeries are raffled off. If you don’t have the winning ticket don’t worry. There’s plenty of ice cream, funnel cakes, cotton candy and fried Oreos to go around.


Various Days of the Week June 29-July 28
Chincoteague Volunteer Fireman’s Carnival
Chincoteague, VA
Many people visit the Chincoteague Carnival during Pony Penning when the wild Chincoteague ponies are corraled at the carnival grounds after they make their swim from Assateague Island, but before they are auctioned off. Perhaps and even better reason to visit the carnival would be to get a taste of all the delicious food there is to sample. Of course, fries, pizza, burgers and hot dogs are on the menu, but local specialties like clam and oyster fritter sandwiches are the stars of the show. If you need to satisfy your sweet tooth check out the cotton candy, ice cream and funnel cakes.


JULY 2018

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Saturday, July 14
Reel and Raw
Cape Charles Yacht Center, Cape Charles
An annual film fest in the tiny beach town of Cape Charles, Experimental Film Virginia brings filmmakers from the all over the world to shoot short films each summer. It all culminates on premiere night, with a big outdoor bash right on the water, featuring oysters and signature dishes from local restaurants and live music that’s just perfect for dancing.
Get Tickets

Friday/Saturday/Sunday, July 20-22
Chincoteague Island Blueberry Festival

Chincoteague, VA
The Eastern Shore of Virginia is one of American’s oldest agricultural hubs and all of that bounty is celebrated at this three-day event packed with artists, crafters, vendors and, of course, blueberries. You’ll be filled with anti-oxidants by the time you leave this festival! Blueberries are on the menu for breakfast and lunch, with blueberry muffins and pancakes dominating the morning and blueberry-studded chicken salad served for lunch. To top it off the Island Creamery, voted America’s Number One Ice Cream Parlor, serves up blueberry ice cream. Each day features a full line-up of live entertainment.
Purchase Tickets At Door


AUGUST 2018


Friday, August 3-Sunday, August 5
Annual Oyster Buy Boat Reunion and ShucknSuck Festival

Cape Charles, VA
Come and visit a restored piece of Chesapeake Bay history as the Oyster Buy Boats return to Cape Charles for their annual reunion. This also kicks off a culinary weekend of raw oysters, roasted oysters, fried oysters and more from all over the shore –all at the Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. Contests include the Boat Docking Contest, Smith Island Skiff Races and much more. Plus live music and of course oysters, oysters and more oysters!
Get More Information

TBD
Shore Craft Beer Festival
Cape Charles, VA
Taste over 30 varieties of beer from regional breweries, while taking in views of the Chesapeake Bay at this beer festival. The kids and the dog are welcome too. The event will feature live music, food trucks and kids activities. If you’re worried about traffic you can even boat or kayak up to this beachside event. Hotel, RV, cottage and camping packages are available.
Ticket Info TBA

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Saturday, August 11
Annual Fish Fry & Chicken BBQ

Onley, VA
Make plans to attend an annual Eastern Shore tradition held right next door to Edward’s Seafood, one of over a dozen seafood grocers on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. You get your choice of just-caught fried local fish or chicken BBQ, along with all the rest of the fixings to round out your plate – coleslaw, sliced tomatoes, baked beans and hush puppies.

Saturday, August 17
Serving Up The Shore
Wallops Island, VA
Enjoy a gourmet dinner created with locally sourced ingredients and cooked up by some of the Eastern Shore’s most talented chefs. This four-course farm-to-table dinner, at the Chesapeake Bay Field Station, is a collaboration between local chefs and farmers that celebrates the bounty of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Regional craft beer and wine is included in the ticket price.
Get More Information

Saturday, August 18
Clamboree
Melfa, VA
The Clamboree is the Shore’s biggest celebration of the fabulous clam and serves up endless steamed clams, a buffet dinner and live music while guests enjoy a stunning view over the water at the Eastern Shore Yacht and Country Club. Proceeds help protect the Eastern Shore of Virginia’s pristine coastlines.
Ticket Info TBA


SEPTEMBER 2018


Saturday, September 8
Eastern Shore’s Own Craft Beer & Music Festival
Belle Haven, VA
Those who want to discover more about craft beer and Eastern Shore seafood should look no further than ESO’s Craft Beer and Music Festival. Sample craft brews from over 35 breweries alongside juicy steamed oysters, plump steamed clams and locally made smoked barbecue. The meal is finished off with fresh fruit and sumptuous desserts. Bring your own lawn chair.
Ticket Info TBA

Buy local seafood and cook up your own feast.

Saturday, September 29
Chincoteague Chili-Chowder Cookoff
Chincoteague, VA
Chincoteague Island is famous for its wild ponies but in September it’s all about chili and chowder. Contestants serve up everything from spicy five alarm chili to rich chowders overflowing with fresh, local seafood. Amateurs and professionals go head-to-head for this culinary throw down and the public can purchase bowls of everything. In addition to the soups and stews, look for famous crispy clam fritters (a local specialty) – – a deep fried, tender nugget of dough studded with local clams. Once you’ve had your fill of tasty treats you can take in some hot rods at the car show, enjoy the live music or get a dose of cuteness at the Little Mr. or Little Miss Hot Stuff children’s pageant. This is a pay as you go event.
Learn More


Saturday, September 29
Brew-N-Que (and Oysters Too!)
Cape Charles, VA
This festival puts a spotlight on smoky scents and frothy craft beer at Sunset Beach Resort in Cape Charles. Brew ‘N’ Que (Oysters Too!) includes platters of smoky barbecue, craft beer and local oysters. Big fun is in store with lots of activities for families and children, as well as live music.
Ticket Info TBA


OCTOBER 2018


Saturday, October 6
Chincoteague Oyster Festival
Chincoteague, VA
Chincoteague oysters — known for their salty, briny flavor — bring the island community together every October to celebrate the famous bivalves, which are shipped all over the world. Sample crispy single-fried oysters, freshly shucked raw oysters, golden oyster fritter sandwiches, succulent steamed oysters and bowls of Eastern Shore style clam chowder. The feast is rounded out by some greens in the form of salads, and crispy onion-studded hushpuppies. Beer is available on site or you can load up your own cooler and bring it. Tickets for this party sell out quick!
Get Tickets

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Oyster
Saturday, October 13
Cork & Canvas
Chincoteague Island, VA

Cork & Canvas is a wine festival and art show held on picturesque Chincoteague Island. Admission includes live music, great food, oysters, cooking demonstrations, an artisan market and kids’ entertainment. This day-long festival offers samplings from various Virginia wineries. Ticket price includes unlimited wine tastings throughout the day and a souvenir tasting glass.
Ticket Info TBA

TBD
Swine and Wine
Accomac, VA
As the name suggests there is plenty of swine at this event — in the form of tender, smoky pork barbecue, as well as smoked chicken. Guests get a true taste of a southern barbecue dinner with all the fixings, as the meal is accompanied by collard greens, macaroni and cheese, baked beans and coleslaw. A variety of wine and beer is available including vintages from local winery Chatham Vineyards. There is live music to keep guests entertained and a silent auction. Get a real taste of what parties are like on the Eastern Shore of Virginia at Swine and Wine.
Ticket info TBA


Friday, October 19
Exmore Rotary Soule Arnold Oyster Roast
Exmore, VA

Gathering in a town park to feast on fresh, local seafood is just about as down-home as it gets on the Eastern Shore of Virginia … and the Soule Arnold Oyster Roast and Clam Steam offers just that! This annual event boasts an all you can eat buffet of salty, roasted seaside oysters, fresh steamed clams, creamy clam chowder made by the folks at Terry Bros Seafood, smoky pork barbecue, coleslaw and desserts. A cash bar is available for the purchase of beer and wine. There’s a silent auction too!
Ticket info TBA


NOVEMBER 2018


Saturday, November 3
Saxis Island Oyster Roast
Saxis, VA
Saxis Island is one of the Eastern Shore’s best kept secrets, tucked away on the Chesapeake Bay coastline of the 70-mile peninsula. Visitors have the perfect opportunity to explore this unique area at the Saxis Island Oyster Roast. Unlike many other oyster festivals, this oyster roast is held indoors – and features table service. Just hold up a sign and a volunteer delivers steamed oysters, single fried oysters, clam chowder and fried clam strips to your table. You can also gather around a shucking table and slurp fresh, raw oysters. If you like, bring a cooler with your choice of (alcoholic) beverages since there is no alcohol served on site.
Email Mayor Denise Drewer for tickets at ddrewer53@gmail.com


NOVEMBER is Virginia’s Eastern Shore Wine and Brine

VA Wine and Brine

During the month of November, Virginia Wine and Brine spotlights the sheer delight of tasting wines and oysters grown side-by-side here on the Eastern Shore. There are only a few places in the world where these two delicacies are grown in the same watershed, and Virginia’s Eastern Shore is one of them. So feast on roasted oysters and clams and sip award-winning wine from Chatham Vineyards. The month-long fete includes culinary tours, cultural events and special Wine and Brine hotel packages

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Saturday, November 3
Island House Oyster Roast
Wachapreague, VA
There are few places on the Eastern Shore that feel closer to the sea than Wachapreague, so breathe in the salty air and savor views of the Wachapreague harbor while you crack open freshly roasted oysters. There is plenty of fork-tender pulled pork, too, with classic sides like baked beans, potato salad and coleslaw to complete the feast. Beer and local Chatham Vineyards wine will is available and the Island House’s bar is stocked with cocktails. The event features a silent and live auction, as well as live entertainment.
Tickets go on sale in early October and must be purchased at the Island House.


Saturday, November 10
Terrior & Merrior Oyster Extravaganza
Machipongo, VA
This Virginia Wine and Brine feast is a food and wine lovers dream. Based on the concept that a wine’s taste reflects the region it is grown in, or terroir, this event, held on the grounds of Chatham Vineyards, pairs Chatham Vineyard’s wines with oysters that are cultivated in the waters surrounding the winery. Just as wines are flavored by their region, oysters are also known for developing a distinct flavor, or Merroir, based on where they are grown. The winery perches on Church Creek and is dotted with buildings that date to the early 1800’s.
Ticket Info TBA

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Saturday, November 17
Ducks Unlimited Oyster Roast
Machipongo, VA
During the annual Ducks Unlimited Oyster Roast, on the grounds of the Barrier Island Center, which was formally a historic almshouse, feast on smoky, roasted oysters and clams, and juicy pork barbecue, baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw and assorted desserts. Festival goers can unleash their competitive side with both a silent and live auction.
Ticket Info TBA


Saturday, November 24
Cape Charles Historical Society Oyster Roast
Cape Charles, VA
Oysters are the star of this traditional Eastern Shore roast on the grounds of the Cape Charles Museum, and will be served both roasted and raw. Spicy bacon and potato studded clam chowder will also be available. Non-seafood lovers can chow down on fried chicken, three bean salad, potato salad and homemade rolls.
For Tickets, Email ccmuseum@hughes.net

DECEMBER 2018

TBD
Chowder Cook-Off
Cape Charles, VA
The Eastern Shore is one of the largest clam growing regions on the East Coast, so we know a thing or two about chowder. Get a taste of the best chowder local restaurants have to offer while enjoying views of the Chesapeake Bay from the Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery.

To plan your visit to Virginia’s Eastern Shore click here.

You might also like:

Culinary Tours on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

The Ultimate Oyster Trip to Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Tour an Aqua Farm

Growing List of Raw Bars on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Find Farm-Fresh Food on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Nine Charming Small Museums on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Six Great Beaches on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

2 thoughts on “Annual Fests for Foodies, Virginia’s Eastern Shore

  1. This is fantastic information, I will be retiring in a few months to the Eastern Shore of VA and this is great information to know. There is something to do all year around!

    Like

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