City festival celebrates Chesapeake

September 30, 1994|By Mike Giuliano | Mike Giuliano,Special to The Sun

Cliff Rose never met an oyster he couldn't shuck -- and mighty fast, at that.

"I think I was weaned on fish, because most of my family has worked in the seafood industry," says Mr. Rose, who works at Shore Seafood in Baltimore's Northeast Market. "We've shucked millions and millions of oysters."

Mr. Rose will be among the contestants showing off their facility with a knife blade as part of oyster shuck-off and oyster appetizer contests today at noon at the Harborplace amphitheatre. Contestants are expected to shuck two dozen oysters in two minutes, with judges hovering to make sure all the oyster meat is out of the shell.

Today's oyster shucking and slurping kicks off the sixth annual Baltimore on the Bay, a monthlong celebration of the city's maritime and seafood traditions.

As for Mr. Rose, the two-time champ in the oyster shucking contest rues the fact that somebody beat him last year. The winner goes on to represent Baltimore in the national oyster shucking championships in St. Mary's County.

"There's joy in getting good at it," explains Mr. Rose, 40, of Essex. Clearly this is a man for whom the oyster is his world.

Fells Point Fun Fest

An event sure to draw a huge crowd is the 28th annual Fells Point Fun Festival, tomorrow and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Expect lots of food, arts and crafts, entertainment, booths for nonprofit organizations, an antiques market and children's activities. Among the bands entertaining will be Love Riot, which won the Yamaha Soundtrack competition and will represent the United States in the international competition in Japan.

Also expect a big turnout -- an estimated 300,000 people gathered around the foot of Broadway for last year's fest. Produced by the Preservation Society, which aims to enhance the historic character of Federal Hill and Fells Point, this annual mob scene is a great people-watching opportunity. As festival coordinator Bea Haskins puts it: "You find yourself watching the crowd and saying, 'Oh, my God, look at what she's wearing!' "

The spectrum of humanity wears all sorts of outfits to this funky fest. This is OK by Ms. Haskins, but she does have one etiquette request: "A concern we have every year is that people like to bring their dogs and snakes and whatever, and we really don't like that." She feels it's not fair to either the pets or the people under such congested conditions.

One person to keep an eye out for is the elusive urban folk hero known as the "Hon Man," who will have T-shirts and mugs for sale. Ms. Haskins says she spoke with the Hon Man when he applied for a booth, but he was deliberately vague as to whether he would man the booth or send a substitute Hon Person.

In any event, if you're going to the festival, Ms. Haskins advises parking at the Inner Harbor and taking a water taxi to Fells Point. For more information, call (410) 675-6756.

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