3rd Annual
Meritage Oysterfest!

Sunday, October 13, 2013
12:00 noon - 8:00pm

Oysterfest, an all-day celebration of the bivalve; that beautiful, pure, nutrient loaded, calorie neutral, aphrodisiac of a pearl in a shell! Oh, oysters.

We picked a later date due to it being the beginning of the oyster season, when cooler waters prime the flesh and make the most varieties available. Could be brisk, though the last two years have been sunny and warm - either way, it will be a great day for oyster eating!

This year we will host the South Side Aces again and are adding a new band for 2013
- Communist Daughter! Their bassist is a long-time staffer at Meritage, so we got the inside track for this rising local talent.

We're inviting back our celebrity chefs for our 3rd Annual Oyster Shucking Showdown, and we listened to the feedback and fine tuned the event. So, join us to help continue our outrageously successful and briney event!

Now on sale!

 

 

New for 2013: We've decided to add a charitable component to our festival - since we bring about 1200 people together in downtown St Paul, we thought it was a great opportunity to raise for a cause and get the word out about the following:

Helping Paws: a organization that trains service dogs for people with disabilities to allow both to live more satisfying and productive lives.

Pets4Patriots: an organization that rescues dogs from shelters, and matches them with military vets suffering with PTSD, a serious and life-threatening condition for many of those who have served our country It's a two-fer; a program saving two lives at once.

We'd like to sponsor a service dog in training and/or help with placement of a rescued dog, with a goal of reaching $3,000 the day of Oysterfest - all sorts of our friends are donating stuff for a great raffle ($3 a ticket) and a silent auction - 100% of proceeds for both go directly to the charities.

It's official! We are going to have a visit, from Blue Island Oysters in New York and... wait for it... THE NAKED COWBOY! Yes, it is true, this will be a first for Minnesota... and for Oysterfest! The Naked Cowboy strolling through with some tunes and some poses in those most famous tighty-whities.

Join us for a day packed with activities. Attend Oyster School, watch a band, meet a therapy dog, grab a burger, drink a beer, eat oysters!
Meander through shucking stations manned by prominent oyster farmers from both coasts;

Additionally, there will be a Pairing Station available throughout the day offering insight into the pairing of wine, beer & cocktails with bivalves and what works. Learn to shuck your own in an Oyster Shucking Tutorial.

Summit Brewery returns as our sponsor and we'll be pouring Great Northern Porter (great for oysters), as well as the Pilsner & Octoberfest. Find out how beer is a perfect compliment to those jewels of the sea.

And, just in case your hungry, there will also be a full menu of seafood shack standards available, such as; lobster rolls, fried clams, steamers, oyster po boys, burgers, etc. As well as an outdoor Grill and the Meritage Crepe Stand.


Schedule of Available Events

  • 12:00noon - 2:00pm Oysterfest - Platinum Pass Exclusive: very limited capacity (only 300 tickets)
    access to all oyster farmers, unlimited oysters, educational pairing seminar.
  • 2:00pm - Oysterfest Begins! All passes open for entry
  • 2:30pm - Live Music starts - with The Southside Aces! - get your briny on!
    • Oyster School classes begin (classes offered; 2:30, 3:30 & 5:00)
  • 3:00pm - Oyster Shucking Showdown (featuring local chefs and friends)
  • 4:30pm -Oyster Shucking Showdown Final; local chefs and friends, all gather round
  • 5:00pm - Live music continues with Communist Daughter - to take us into the evening
  • ... Enjoy the rest of the festival, walk around to the different shucking huts and meet the farmers themselves that we've flown in from both coasts
Schedule subject to change, times are approximate, full schedule available upon arrival.
Feel free to call with any other questions, 651.222.5670.

Frequently Asked Questions:

When do tickets go on sale?
For our email list subscribers and Meritage friends an email will go out early September with a link to this page with the ticket sale buttons activated. Oysterfest tickets will be sold online or in-person at Meritage. Tickets go on sale to the general public Monday, September 9th at 9:00am.

How do I become a Meritage friend?
Either by friending or liking us on Facebook, or by signing up for our email subscribers list (we don't fill your email box with stuff, only special events and announcements, essentially a quarterly newsletter).

 

How do I buy tickets/passes?
Tickets go on sale from our Square Market Store - link will go live once tickets are available. Or, you can purchase in-person at Meritage. No phone orders this year.

Will you be holding back any same day tickets for sale?
Not this year. We learned in 2012 that the same-day ticket sales were not a good idea for us as a lot of guests decided to join last minute and we hated to turn anyone away. To avoid that conflict of interest and for all to get the most out of the event, we have decided to only sell advanced tickets so we are prepared for our guests.

What are the ticket options?

We had to change things up for our 3rd annual, as the lines got really long last year, and for our Oyster Aficionados we needed to make it what is was supposed to be: unfettered access to farmers and their oysters. So, if you are an Oyster Lover and you want access, try to get a Platinum Pass, if you are a mixed group (some eaters some non-eaters even), maybe just join us at 2:00pm - the festival will be going strong until 8:00pm - and that will be plenty of time for all to enjoy. Maybe you just want to join us for the festival and make your own decisions - grab a General Entry.

      • Platinum Pass ($100) gets you into the pass holders only Oysterfest time 12noon - 2:00pm; exclusive time with the oyster farmers, unlimited oysters without the lines (including the elusive Olympias & Belons - season permitting) , a seminar about beverage pairing and tasting, an exclusive raffle - we wanted to give our hardcore Oyster fans more of what they really wanted - access! Then, continue through and enjoy the rest as the festival continues.
      • Oyster Pass ($50) includes your entry for the festival when Oysterfest kicks off at 2:00pm. The Oyster Pass gets you in for the festival, the bands - plus, one dozen oysters and a beverage ticket - (that's $42 in "stuff" oysters and beverage - best deal if you want oysters)
      • General Entry Pass ($25) access to the party and the bands - everything is your option, you just pay as you go.
      • Special Note: Please do not plan on any no same-day ticket options. We are limiting total capacity and are expecting to sell-out in advance, as we have the past two years. If any tickets remain they will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis. However, please do not rely on this - if you want to be sure you are able to attend Oysterfest 2013 - please purchase your tickets as soon as possible after they become available on September 9th.

Oyster School - what is it?
Oyster School 101: Bivalve Basics (a five species adventure) is a class taught by the visiting Oyster Farmers; Chris Sherman of Island Creek Oyster Farms in Duxbury MA & Adam James of Hama Hama Oyster Farms, in Hood Canal, WA. They cover the species and anatomy of an oyster, their merrior and general flavor profiles, farming methods, seasons, etc. Come learn all about this perfect and completely sustainable food. Every oyster farm is different, and the styles of seeding, growing & harvesting are distinctly different from one coast to the other. Learn about these styles, methods and merrior. (If you don't know what merrior is, that's part of you'll learn at oysterfest)

  • Oyster School (classes offered; 2:30, 3:30 & 5:00) - $20 per person, space permitting. A limited number of advanced registrations will be available, so we can hold some for same-day registration.

Is this really structured or can I move about as I wish?
The format of the event is really made up by you. Watch the Oyster Shucking Competition, listen to the bands, meet some of the farmers as you meander through. Oyster School is offered at four different times and if you'd like to sit in on the class (about an hour)- that covers all 5 species of oysters! You'll want to register upon arrival for this one. Classes filled early last year. So, go when there is room and when you can fit it in, you can choose you class times at registration. There is structure for those wanting to get the most out of the experience, and they is freedom for those who just want to fest!

Are there refunds if I can't make it?
Unfortunately, no.

If I can't make it, can I send a friend? Are the tickets / passes transferable?
Of course! Feel free to send a friend in your stead.

Do you really think you will sell out this event?
We sold out Oysterfest within two weeks of tickets going on sale in 2011, and sold out advanced tickets in 2012 within the first weeks of them going on sale as well. We tried same-day last year and learned the hard way that we will have to offer advanced ticket sales only.

We have to be aware of and conscientious of capacity limits and making sure everyone has access, last year our lines got long and we have restructured the event for people to get the most of the event and how they are looking to experience it. This event goes on sale to our email subscriber list first, our Facebook friends & Twitter followers second, and then goes on sale to the general public Monday, September 9, 2013 at 9:00am (a week after Labor Day).

Is there any other food?
Yes, there will be all sorts of seafood shack style food available for purchase. Lobster rolls to fried clams. There will even be some non-seafood items in case you've had your fill. Additionally, new for 2013 - there will be a Grill outside serving up festival classics too.

What if I have problems with the transaction or I don't feel comfortable ordering online?
Drop in and buy the tickets in-person.

What if I have more specific questions? Like my friend has an allergy, but I am an aficionado, what would be our best course of action?
Give us a call, we'd be happy to answer your questions, walk you through, or even make special accommodations as needed. It's just us - and we'd like to hear from you. So, let us know if you have questions. 651.222.5678 - ask for Laura


Frequently Asked Questions for the Day of the Event:

What about Parking? Will there be Valet?
No, there will not be Valet available that day. All off street parking on Sunday is free, so if you are able to find it that's your best bet. We are having to close off St Peter Street for our festivities, so remember that if you need to alter your route. We do recommend the LAWSON Tower ramp right next door. It is safe, secure, undercover, and close. For more detailed information: www.meritage-stpaul.com/parking.html

What happens when I get there? Where do I go?
You will enter Oysterfest from the Hamm Building main entrance. The festival will be surrounded by a few barricades and some pretty impressive tenting down Saint Peter Street. So, when you enter you will be greeted immediately with our Registration Table. They will check you in quickly, ID you (so be sure to bring ID if you plan on drinking alcohol), give you your pass bracelet and a map for the event.

Celebrity Chef Shucking Contest:
Chef shucking bracket kicks off at 3:00pm with our first head-to-head. We bracket till the end and when “Ultimate Shucker” is revealed.

Information on Wooden Nickels:
There are no real “cash” transaction for the festival. Just like at the Fair, or any other festival where you would purchase tickets to buy things – we have wooden nickels. Each valued at $3.00 (now includes sales tax), these wooden nickels will be commerce for the day. Most things throughout Oysterfest are priced at 1-3 wooden nickels.

So, you can plan out your nickel purchases in advance (Will you want a sandwich? A crepe? Or, two?) Wooden Nickels will be available during ticket sales or will be available day of at the Oysterfest Store, in the Oyster Bar or at any of the outdoor bars.

Additionally, last year the lines could be long. We realized we needed more "Wooden Nickel Stations", so voilà, done! As stated above we have added an Oysterfest Store, and the ability to purchase them at any of the bars - even with a card! (Thanks for feedback from those of you who attended in 2011 & 2012, it helps us make things work better for everyone!)


Disclaimers & Advisement:
-Event will go on, rain or shine... or, snow (this is Minnesota) as there are multiple tents and indoor facilities.
-Due to the nature of seafood, all items subject to availability.
-Due to the highly exclusive nature of Belon & Olympia oysters, they will both only be available for Platinum Pass time (12-2pm) or during Oyster School - availability permitting.

Oyster School 101: Bivalve Basics (a 5 species adventure)
-classes offered; 2:30, 3:30 & 5:00
So, if you're really curious, register for a class, you will be exposed through that process.

-Be aware: consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of food borne illness.
-Before entering Oysterfest please inform us if anyone in your party has a food allergy.
-Finally, details are subject to change as we get closer to the date - due to, well, reality.

- If you have any questions that are not answered here - feel free to give us a call: 651.222.5678

Map to Meritage