The Seafood Celebration of the Year Takes Place September 30

Chicago may be in the middle of the country, far from any ocean, but you'd never know it considering the city’s abundance of fresh seafood, a facet that takes the stage in a big way at Shaw's 28th Annual Oyster Fest. Taking place September 30, it's a massive celebration of all things shellfish and seafood from one of Chicagoland’s premiere restaurants, as well as seafood restaurants throughout Chicago and the country at large.


Oyster Fest
Oyster Fest

Shaw's is the ideal host for such a soiree, which takes place at the corner of Hubbard and Rush in River North. From 3-10 p.m., the festival features live music, wine, cocktails, craft beer, and a plethora of fresh seafood joining the East and West Coast oysters, such as king crab bites, lobster rolls, clam chowder, fish tacos, and more. 

New this year is a special partnership with Founder’s Brewing Co. out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. This means Oyster Fest is upping the ante on booze by bringing in some of Founder’s famed aromatic beers, like their All Day IPA and KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout). 

Shaw’s sister restaurant, Oyster Bah, is also getting in on the action with a special Oyster Roast taking place on festival grounds all day long. For $20 per plate, guests can fill up on six steamed oysters with poached butter, cocktail sauce and Bad Seed hot sauce. 

While slurping oysters, swoon to live music from headliner Bumpus, a synth-pop act that should set a cool pace for the occasion. Other Blues-inspired bands tapped to perform include The Friends Band, Big Dog Mercer, and Breezy Rodio. 

Towards the end of the event, Oyster Fest features the Oyster Slurp-Off Grand Finale, wherein competitors vie to slurp the most oysters for the chance to be named the 2016 champion and get inducted into the Oyster Hall of Fame at 7:15 p.m. 

Tickets are available for $20 per person at for general admission, or $50 per person for VIP, which includes table and waiter service, access to full liquor cash bar, prime seating close to the stage, and access to luxury running water trailer bathrooms. Kids 12 and under are free. 

- Matt Kirouac