Wellfleet’s watery roots surface this weekend with OysterFest, the annual celebration of the town’s famous oysters and clams, and its shellfishing traditions.

 The downtown center comes alive for the two-day family fest, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 14 and 15, that brings together thousands of locals and visitors for food, art, music, fun and games. The event, rain or shine, runs both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission each day is $10.

Organizers are gearing up for a banner event following last year's disappointing closure of Wellfleet's shellfish beds on the eve of the festival, due to contamination. But an estimated 17,000 people still showed up, and this year more than 20,000 are expected.

 The main action happens along Main Street, although there will be educational and other activities, including a huge arts show, at various locations all around town. See the whole schedule at wellfleetspat.org.

 It’s organized by Wellfleet SPAT – Shellfish, Promotion and Tasting, with an eye toward improving knowledge and awareness of area’s shellfishing traditions and techniques.

Proceeds from the activities and the Fest fund the organization’s educational mission, which includes a local college scholarship program, community grant awards and initiatives to support Wellfleet’s shellfishing and aquaculture industries.

 Activities this year include music, storytelling, cooking demonstrations, nature walks, oyster grant tours and more.

Here’s a sample of what's planned:

 Local cuisine: Throughout the weekend, local shellfishermen and women come in off the flats with their just-harvested oysters and clams. Alongside the rawbars, restaurants serve up chowders, stuffed clams, and other traditional New England fare.

Culinary programs and cooking demonstrations featuring local chefs cooking with local ingredients, including, of course, the Wellfleet oyster, are offered throughout the weekend.

Music: Hear local musicians playing everything from bluegrass and rock, and other family-fun music and performances, happening all day throughout the Fest. Look for bands such as Crabgrass, the Rip it Ups, the Oh Boys (less Sarah Swain, who, last we heard, was sailing in the Caribbean for a few months), the Catbirds, and others.

New England brews: Check out a range of New England beers and ales. Locally made wine will be offered, too.

Art and crafts: More than 70 artisans and artists will exhibit and sell handmade jewelry, pottery, ceramics, clothing, paintings, photography, furniture and more.

Competitive fun: Wellfleet’s Recreation Department organizes a 5K road race and a Tennis Round Robin.

Oyster Shuck-Off: This is OysterFest’s most popular attraction. Round one is on Saturday afternoon and the final shuck-off is on Sunday. Amateurs compete for the fun of it, and some of Wellfleet’s home-town shuckers have been fast enough to go on to compete nationally. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three winners.

Recycling: The OysterFest strives to be a “green event” by recycling as much as possible, but most importantly all of the oyster and clam shells.

Family Fun: A special Family Fun area is located in the garden behind Wellfleet Preservation Hall. There is music, craft activities and the ever-popular moon bounce.


 Need to know

 Tickets for entry into the Fest are $10 per day. All food and retail items are priced individually, and some satellite events such as the cooking demonstrations require an additional fee. All activities for children are free.

No outside alcohol is permitted. All bags are subject to search.

Pets – except for service animals – pets are prohibited in the Fest.

No vehicle traffic is allowed on Main Street either day of the event. Parking is available at the town beach parking lots with frequent shuttle service to town center from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Most of the municipal lots and private businesses charge a fee for parking. Free parking with walking access to the Fest is located at the Wellfleet Elementary School on Lawrence Road, Cove Corner on Route 6 and the Mayo Beach Parking Area.

All main festival areas are handicap accessible. Handicap parking is available in the Mayo Beach parking area with free handicap accessible shuttle to and from Main Street. Drivers are permitted and encouraged to drop off persons in wheelchairs at either entrance and park cars in any of the available lots. OysterFest staff or Wellfleet Police will assist upon request.