It's almost time for the longest-running special event of the York County Heritage Trust: the Oyster Festival. Oct. 18 will mark the 41st event. To get you ready, we whipped up an FAQ-style guide:

When is it?

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18.


Agricultural & Industrial Museum, 217 W. Princess St., York

How much is it?

Free admission. Food is a la cart.

Where do I park?

Free parking is available across the street at the William Penn lot. Also, there is free transportation between Susquehanna Commerce Center and the Agricultural & Industrial Museum. A van will operate continuously throughout the event to bring people directly to the museum entrance.

Will there be alcohol?

Yes. Wine and beer will be available. For the craft beer drinkers, Black Cap Brewing Company of Red Lion will be offering General Gates Porter, a recipe created especially for the York County Heritage Trust.

What kind of oysters?

Thousands of stewed, nude and fried oysters from Henry's Seafood will be served.

What else is there to eat?

Aside from oysters, there will be steamed shrimp, homemade barbecue, creamy macaroni and cheese, apple fritters and cole slaw. Don't forget dessert. Pick up something sweet at the Trust Auxiliary's bake sale.

Is there live music?

When the event opens, the Central York Middle School Fife & Drum Corp will play at the museum entrance. The Getz Steam Calliope will play a 20-minute set each hour, also outside on West Princess Street. The calliope is thought to be the largest operating, mobile and self-contained steam calliope in the United States. Built by Noah Getz of Lancaster County in the 1960s, the calliope has performed at countless parades, festivals, fairs and carnivals.

What else can I do there?

Watch a Native American dance performance by Frank Little Bear at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. See Bradley's Grist Mill demonstrations at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Also, York Town Craft Guild members will be there doing a lot of crafty things. There's glass blowing by Michael Peluso, spinning by Patricia Huddleston, chair caning by Patricia Erickson, writing Fraktur (German calligraphy) by Adele Lynham, woodworking by Joe Henney, soy candle making by Graceful Heart Candles and historic carving and lathe demonstrations by Thomas Deneen.

As if that's not enough, you can also see blacksmithing by Damselfly Forge and basket making by Donna Kumpf.

What do they do with all of those oyster shells?

The Trust is partnering with CCA Maryland's Living Reef Campaign, recycling the oyster shells used from the day so that they can be repurposed to help rebuild Maryland's oyster reefs. The shells will be used to create a CCA Maryland community-built living reef constructed of mesh bags filled with spat on shell oysters. These mesh bags create a stable, three-dimensional habitat that is conducive to the recruitment of juvenile oysters.

Still have questions?

Visit or call the York County Heritage Trust at 717-848-1587.

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