We’re Planning Our Annual Trek to Osoyoos For the Osoyoos Oyster Festival
No there are not oysters grown right in Osoyoos, but that didn’t stop the founders of the Osoyoos Oyster Festival, from having a vision to give weary oyster farmers a break from the coast and locals and visiting oyster aficionados something to slurp while waiting for all of the spring wines to be released.
It’s in the sixth year now and Michael and I will, once again make the journey to the Okanagan, via Kelowna, where we’ll stop for some last minute wedding prep, then continue down the valley to Osoyoos for a few days to feast on oysters and work on our tans. We wouldn’t miss our annual pilgrimage, it’s now our little family tradition.
The Osoyoos Oyster Festival returns to the South Okanagan, April 19-23 and showcases a variety of oysters from across the country. Kelowna’s Codfathers Seafood Market will be on hand, Nova Scotia’s Sober Island Oyster Farm will be shucking up a storm, and they’ll be Effingham Oysters and more. We’ll be there for three days checking out the area and the festival’s events. On the agenda is lunch at Burrowing Owl Winery, a visit to Firehall Brewery and Dublin Gate Distilling and stops at several of the wineries. I have to be careful or I won’t fit into my wedding dress. Oh, did I mention I was getting married? I did a few times? Oops.
We look forward to seeing Patrick McMurray again, known as “Shucker Paddy”, Patrick is a former World Champion Oyster Shucker and owner of The Ceili Cottage Restaurant in Toronto. He’ll be shucking fresh oysters at events throughout the festival and you’ll be shucking your own oysters in no time with his tips. Trevor and Michelle Munroe from Nova Scotia’s Sober Island Oyster Farm, along with their children, will be shucking east coast oysters at all three signature events, and the Codfathers Family is sure to be on site!
We’ll be staying at Walnut Beach Resort, as there’s a great heated pool and a licensed beachfront, but many Osoyoos hotels and resorts will be offering special weekend rates for the duration of the festival, as well as “Stay and Savour” packages starting at $569 per couple (includes two nights’ accommodation and tickets to Oyster Festival events). Shuttle service, departing from set Osoyoos-based locations, is available during the following Oyster Festival events: Beach BBQ & Brews, Deep Sea Garden Party and Art of the Pearl Gala.
For more information about the accommodation packages or the events listed below, please visit: destinationosoyoos.com/osoyoos-oyster-festival.
Beach BBQ & Brews at Watermark Beach Resort, April 21
6:30 pm Tickets: $75
New in 2017 and held on the resort’s stunning beachfront, this lively BBQ-style buffet features seafood and traditional BBQ fare, paired with generous pours of the South Okanagan’s best brews, craft ciders and a signature Canadian Whiskey cocktail. The BBQs will be manned by the following Chefs: Jeff Van Geest of Miradoro; Natasha Schooten from Walnut Beach Resort; Adair Scott from Watermark Beach Resort; and Trevor Munroe of Sober Island Oysters. Tickets available online, here.
Deep Sea Garden Party at Walnut Beach Resort, April 22
1 pm Tickets: $60
Family pricing – children under 10, admitted free with an adult; kids 11-18, $25
This afternoon event is held outside on the lawn of Walnut Beach Resort. Guests will sample culinary delights from both land and sea, and sip exceptional wine and beer from local wineries and craft breweries. New this year is the introduction of The Garden Market, with local vendors offering samples, as well as products for sale. A kid’s zone will offer activities and educational items to make this event family-friendly. Tickets available online, here.
Art of the Pearl Gala at Spirit Ridge Resort, April 22
6 pm Tickets: $95
This fun, social, grazing soirée is inspired by the ocean and its bounty. Guests will enjoy incredible oyster creations served up by local chefs, along with freshly shucked oysters, and charcuterie offerings, paired with wine samples from the area’s award-winning wineries. More than 10 Okanagan restaurants are participating in this event, including: Mica Restaurant; Liquidity Bistro; Nk’Mip Cellars; The Paisley Notebook; Bonfire Restaurant; Sonora Room; Greenside Grill; Walnut Beach Resort; and Jojo’s Café. Tickets available online, here.
Long Table Dinner at Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek Winery, April 19
6:30 pm Tickets: $39
Enjoy a special evening, starting with freshly shucked oysters, followed by a three-course dinner dedicated to the oyster. Call 250.498.3742 for tickets.
Under the Tuscan Sea at Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek, April 20
Terrafina at Hester Creek Estate Winery invites guests to sample pizza and oysters paired with spring releases from Hester Creek, along with tastings from the winery’s “bubbly” neighbours. Call 250.498.2229 for tickets.
Whiskey & Oysters at Sol in the Holiday Inn, April 21
4 – 6 pm Tickets: $65
A great opportunity to try fresh oysters hand-selected by Codfathers Seafood Market, alongside various whiskeys, all while overlooking Osoyoos Lake in the Sol Grill Room & Lounge. With special guest Patrick McMurray (“Shucker Paddy”) in attendance. Call 250.495.7223 for tickets.
Brunch Buffet at Mica Restaurant at Spirit Ridge Resort, April 23
10 am – 1 pm $30
Wrap up the weekend by enjoying a delicious brunch buffet, while taking in views of Osoyoos Lake and the rolling countryside. Includes a complimentary mimosa or caesar. Call 250.495.8007 for reservations.
At the gateway to the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys lies Canada’s only desert, and the lakeside town of Osoyoos. A year-round destination, sunny Osoyoos offers something for everyone, including beaches, swimming, golfing, boating, fishing, wineries, fine dining and more. Visit destinationosoyoos.com.