The weather still can’t make up its mind, but the internal clock of Aransas County residents, and individuals across our great state, know it’s time for Fulton Oysterfest.
I’ve always loved Oysterfest for two reasons.
First, once March rolls around, I begin to realize it’s been a while since we’ve had a good ol’ outdoor festival.
My second reason?
I love oysters!
Like most of our big festivals, such as Oysterfest in March, Rockport Art Festival in July, and Seafair in October, I’ve been around most of the years since they’ve been operating.
For instance, the Fulton Volunteer Fire Department (FVFD) and Town of Fulton are celebrating their 41st Oysterfest this weekend, in July the Rockport Center for the Arts (RCA) will host its 51st Rockport Art Festival, and in October the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce will roll out the 46th edition of Seafair.
When this year ends, that will be 138 festivals and I will have attended 108, or almost 80 percent of them in my 36 years here.
Oysterfest and the Art Festival have benefitted the FVFD and RCA, respectively, since day one. The Chamber has run Seafair since 2000, after the original Seafair organization went belly up.
Until the Chamber took over Seafair’s operations, the old Seafair was bound to fail at some point. It was the first festival I was heavily involved in when I arrived in 1984, and even then, I quickly realized it was the only major festival that didn’t really benefit a community non-profit in the truest sense of the word. The original Seafair organization experienced a slow death because there simply wasn’t a continuous flow of new blood and new ideas working hard to raise money for an “organization.”
The Art Festival and Seafair added special fundraising parties during the week before their festivals to bring in additional funds. The Chamber did it initially to raise funds for the building in which they are now housed. They quit doing it for a few years, but are now back at it again.
Oysterfest has never had a “pre-party.” They just throw one heck of a four-day celebration.
Whether one drinks or not, he or she can’t help but be entertained and get his or her juices flowing again after being in hibernation all winter.
The last thing I really appreciate about Oysterfest is its organizational simplicity. That’s not saying it’s an easy festival to host.
What I am saying is it hasn’t changed much at all since I’ve been around … except it gets bigger.
There’s a parade, a nice carnival, lots of beer and continuous live music, vendors, a wide variety of food, and of course, more oysters than a whole county could possibly consume.
Each of the major festivals takes on the personality of its sponsoring organization, and it shows.
That’s what makes each one unique.
And because they are so different, we all benefit.
Have fun at Oysterfest this weekend. We need to get the weather back on schedule because spring begins in two weeks and one day!
Until next week, have a good week.
Mike Probst can be reached at email@example.com.