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Rivah Visitor's Guide

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Urbanna rolls out the red carpet for its annual Oyster Festival, Nov. 4-5

Regardless of all the music, parades and other events at the Urbanna Oyster Festival, the number one attraction is still the tasty oyster—whether raw, roasted, frittered or stewed.

MIDDLESEX—The 59th annual Urbanna Oyster Festival, the area’s largest fall festival, takes center stage on Friday and Saturday, November 4-5. As always, there’ll be food, bands, dancing, waterfront exhibits, crafts, boats, the queen crowning, oyster shucking contest, and two parades.

The streets of Urbanna will be lined with food vendors vying for the palates of thousands of visitors. Oysters, prepared with flair, will be everywhere offering raw on the half-shell, fried, warmed in stews, and sandwiched as fritters.

But save room for dessert. How about a funnel cake, a festival favorite?

After you’ve eaten your fill, take a rest at one of the festival stages for some continuous live music.

Then stroll down to the Urbanna Town Marina at Upton’s Point for the waterfront exhibits and tour the tall ship Godspeed, a replica of the ship that brought settlers to Jamestown in 1607.

Walking will help work up an appetite, so mosey back to Festival Village to visit the art and craft booths and get something to eat.  

A variety of entertainment has been booked on four stages on Friday and Saturday, and there will be parades on both days.

For adults 21 and over there will be craft beer tasting in Festival Village from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Oyster Festival wine tasting will again be on Virginia Street next to the post office from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

In Festival Village there will be children’s activities, carnival rides and pony rides, clowns, games, arts and crafts, entertainment and good food. New this year is a rock climbing wall. The Rappahannock Model Railroaders will have trains set up and running. 

On Friday the festival opens at 10 a.m. On Friday and again on Saturday, educational activities and oyster related displays will be set up at the Urbanna Town Marina, where the tall ship Godspeed will be docked.

The historic 1763 John Mitchell Map of Colonial American, and oyster history displays will be open at the James Mills Scottish Factors Store (formerly known as the Old Tobacco Warehouse).

Friday’s entertainment events are as follows:
  • Magician and juggler Jonathan Austin will perform at the children’s activity area in Festival Village on Friday from 10 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m.
  • The Moody Crewe pirates will camp all day at the Urbanna Town Marina on the waterfront. The pirates will demonstrate black powder weapons at 11 a..m. and 4:15 p.m., and have “pirate school” at 11:45 a.m.,1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. 
  • Roxbury will play R&B solo on the Festival Village Stage on Rappahannock Avenue from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Robert Keyes, a multi-facet solo finger-style guitarist, performs on the porch of the James Mills Scottish Factor Store (Urbanna Museum) for 1-hour performances at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.     
  • Solo guitarist Rick Hollowell will perform one-hour sets on the Waterfront Stage at the town marina from 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m. 
  • Sweet Justice plays classic rock on the Festival Village Stage from 2-6 p.m.
  • The crowning of the Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen and Little Miss Spat will be at the Urbanna Firehouse at 4 p.m.
  • The Fireman’s Parade is from 7-8 p.m. on Friday followed by The Janitors playing top 40 hits behind the firehouse from 8 p.m.-midnight.

On Saturday, November 5, the festival opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m.
The antique auto show returns to the corner of Waverly and Virginia streets near the fir house. Class winners will be featured in the Oyster Festival Parade that afternoon.

On Saturday educational activities continue at the Urbanna Town Marina. The Moody Crewe Pirate encampment continues all day. The pirates will demonstrate black powder weapons at 11 a..m. and 4 p.m.; and have “pirate school” at 11:45 a.m.

Saturday’s event schedule is as follows: 

  • Stuck On A Name plays blues from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and again from 1-5 p.m. on the Festival Village Stage.
  • Robert Keyes, a multi-facet solo finger-style guitarist, performs on the porch of the Scottish Factor Store for one-hour performances at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • The Virginia Oyster Shucking Contest will start at 10 a.m. behind the firehouse with the winner being crowned at about noon. Amateurs and professional are encouraged to enter; signup starts at 9 a.m. The winners will receive prizes.
  • 33 East plays rock, new country and funky favorites on the Firemen’s Stage behind the firehouse from noon-5 p.m.
  • The Oyster Festival Parade begins at 2 p.m.
  • The festival ends at 5 p.m.

    Parking is $10 on Friday and $20 on Saturday. There are parking lots on both the west and east sides of town, and also some in-town lots for early-risers.

    Visit for more on the official Oyster Festival of Virginia.

    posted 10.28.2016

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