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Urbanna Oyster Festival countdown begins

by Tom Chillemi

There will be five stages featuring entertainment; two beer gardens; 50 food vendors
The 52nd annual Urbanna Oyster Festival is set for Friday and Saturday, November 6-7, and once again good times and a variety of delicious food and lively music are planned for the tens of thousands of expected festival-goers.

There will be two parades. The Fireman’s Parade is at 7 p.m. Friday, November 6; and the Oyster Festival Parade, with about 80 units, is at 2 p.m. Saturday, November 7.

The Oyster Festival Queen and Little Miss Spat will be crowned at 4 p.m. Friday, November 6 on the Festival Village stage on Rappahannock Ave.

Urbanna Oyster Festival Guide
Click above to download the Urbanna Oyster Festival guide – it’s free! You can also pick up a hard copy in the October 29 Southside Sentinel.
More than 100 vendors will be open for business when the festival officially begins on Friday at 10 a.m. On Saturday, the festival is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bring your appetite; an array of tasty items will be available from more than 50 food vendors. The honored oyster is always featured and in a variety of presentations—raw, roasted, fried, steamed, frittered and stewed.

In addition to great food and desserts, visitors will delight in the variety of crafts available throughout the town.

The Oyster Festival waterfront at the Urbanna Town Marina will showcase the area’s varied history and emphasize the conservation and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. Large boats will be open for tours and there will be numerous hands-on exhibits.

The restored Old Tobacco Warehouse/Urbanna Visitor’s Center on Virginia Street, just up the hill from Urbanna Creek, will be open both days of the festival. Model boats and an original John Mitchell map of early colonial America will be on display within this historic building.


The town will be closed to motor vehicles on Friday, November 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. for the Fireman’s Parade; and on Saturday, November 7, starting at 8 a.m. Urbanna will be closed to incoming traffic. Vehicles that are in town on Saturday will not be allowed to leave until 8 p.m. or until a time deemed appropriate by law enforcement.

Official festival parking will be just outside the town limits on both sides of town. Parking will be $10 on Friday and $20 on Saturday.

Art Show

The Middlesex County Woman’s Club on Virginia Street will be selling its famous crab bisque and ham biscuits along with an assortment of handmade crafts. They also will raffle a handmade quilt.

Oyster Shucking

The Virginia Oyster Shucking Contest will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday behind the firehouse.

The top professional shucker in the contest wins $300. The first place prize in each of the men’s and women’s divisions is $100; second, $50; and third, $25.

There will be an amateur division with a plaque for the winner, and official Oyster Festival T-shirts for second and third place.

Contestants must register at the firehouse stage by 10 a.m. on the day of the shucking championship. There is no cost to enter. Call Karen Ambrose at 758-2037 for information.


A variety of entertainment has been booked for the five stages for Friday and Saturday, November 6-7.

There will be live entertainment on stage at Festival Village, on the front porch of the Old Tobacco Warehouse, at the wine tasting garden (next to the post office), at the waterfront, and behind the Urbanna Firehouse.

Scheduled to perform on the stages are Speed Limit 8, Church Yard Grass, Keith Anderson, Robert Keyes, Nate Sparks & the Pamunkey River Ramblers, The Reapers and The Janitors.

Fireman’s Parade

More than 60 fire and rescue units, beauty queens and dignitaries are expected for Friday’s Urbanna Fireman’s Parade at 7 p.m.

The fireman’s parade direction will be the same route as Saturday’s Oyster Festival Parade. It will start at the firehouse on the west side of town, go east on Virginia Street, left on Cross Street, left on Marston Ave., left on Rappahannock Ave., right on Bonner St., left on Grace Ave., and right on Virginia Street.

Immediately following the parade, “Marna & Macey” will perform modern country and classic rock music on the stage behind the Urbanna Firehouse from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Saturday’s Parade

On Saturday starting at 8 a.m., the festival will pick up where it left off on Friday. The Oyster Festival Parade is at 2 p.m. More than 80 units, including five marching bands, will be in the parade.

Beer & Wine Gardens

There will be two beer gardens this year—at the Urbanna Firehouse and Chesapeake Commons on Virginia Street. Both locations will feature live music. Chesapeake Commons’ $3 cover charge will be donated to the Urbanna Business Association. “Sweet Justice” will perform at Chesapeake Commons from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, and starting at noon on Saturday.

New this year to the Oyster Festival will be a wine-tasting event featuring several local Virginia wineries. The wine-tasting area will be on Virginia Street next to the post office.

Alcohol is restricted to these designated areas or inside restaurants.

The Virginia ABC store will be open regular hours on both days of the festival.

First Aid, Security

Ambulances will be stationed at various locations in town and on Route 602 at Lord Mott Road near Hewick.

The command center of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office will be at the foot of Virginia Street at the Liberty at Compass Quay hotel, and at the corner of Virginia and Cross streets.

The Urbanna Post Office window service will be open regular hours on both Friday and Saturday.


The Urbanna Oyster Festival acknowledges the generosity of this year’s sponsors. GEICO is returning as sponsor of Festival Village. Virginia Lottery is sponsoring Saturday’s Oyster Festival Parade. Bon Secours Health System is sponsoring the rescue squad crews. Bon Secours also paid for printing of the free Oyster Festival brochure. The 2009 Urbanna Oyster Festival corporate sponsors include Bethpage Camp-Resort/Grey’s Point Camp, Bon Secours Health System, C&F Bank, EVB Bank, GEICO, Rappahannock General Hospital, Revere Gas and Appliance, Rosegill Development LLC, The Virginia Lottery and Thurston Properties. C&F Bank sponsored the Oyster Festival reception on October 17. EVB Bank is sponsoring Community Row on Prince George Street. This area features local artists and non-profit groups. Home Depot is presenting “Build-a-Boat” Children’s Activity Area on Grace Avenue across from the firehouse. Revere Gas and Appliance is sponsoring the Virginia Oyster Shucking Contest.

Bon Secours will have an open house, health fair, children’s activities, moon bounce and jewelry-making at its new location at Waverly Commons, just west of town.

Also featured will be the first Urbanna Oyster Festival RV & Boat Show sponsored by Bethpage Camp-Resort and Grey’s Point Camp.

posted 10.28.2009

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