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VIDEO: 60th Annual Urbanna Oyster Festival recap

by Tom Chillemi

Friday was a good day to dream. Warm sun, cool shade and cold beer at the craft brewery tent—Festival Village was hopping.

Ben Fetter and Dee East dreamed aloud of one day living in a small town like Urbanna and leaving the bustle of Mechanicsville behind. But that day is 10 years away. 

Bass notes of Sweet Justice’s classic rock thumped in the background as East recalled the last Oyster Festival she attended. She remembers a man fell off a boat that year. She was just 18 and it now seems like “a hundred years ago.”

Retired from “the” phone company, “Ma Bell,” she had once been an operator, a job unimagined by the millennials.

Although no official count is made, last weekend’s Urbanna Oyster Festival may have been the largest in the 60-year history of the event. Friday was warm and attracted a large crowd, and on Saturday once the threat of rain passed, droves of festival-goers descended on the town from both directions. Above is a photo of Virginia Street taken by David Lipscombe at about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday,

They were in Urbanna only for the day. When they left Festival Village they were headed back to reality. “Don’t give up the dream,” someone called to them. He nodded in agreement.

It was Yoko Ono who said, “A dream you dream together is reality.”

The Urbanna Oyster Festival sprang from the ideas of a few into the official state Virginia Oyster Festival.

Dreams seem so real, until you awake. Then, they take on a mystical quality.

So does the Oyster Festival that filled the town with people on Friday and Saturday. When the rooster crowed at dawn on Sunday, there was little evidence it had happened. Grass lay flat where thousands walked and cars had parked. But, memories will persist.

And, within a year’s time, the Oyster Festival will return. And thousands will come back to Urbanna.

Until then, they can dream.

posted 11.08.2017

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