MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - Hundreds of people flocked to the MarshWalk for the 6th annual Surfsider Oyster Roast and Bloody Mary Contest.
“We prepared our homemade bloody mary mix very similar to what we had a few years ago," Brandon Bushaw with Island Bar said. "Then we upped the anty with our kitchen manager doing the pork belly, and we have that topped with a candied jalapeno. We have olives rolled in old bay, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.”
The festival was held on Sunday at Wicked Tuna. Those who attended all had one goal in mind: supporting a foundation working to keep the beaches and river systems clean and educating the public.
“It’s nice to support local business and also our environment," Aaron Maynard said. "I know they’re going to take all of our spent shells and put them back in harvest and that’s great for the environment and the economy.”
Christopher Tomlin with Seven Seas Seafood Market says it’s a miracle the oyster beds in the Grand Strand weren’t damaged severely during the 2018 hurricane season after Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wilmington, NC.
“Hurricane season, you live down here on the coast it seems like we get hit every October,” Tomlin said. “First week of October. Happened last year, happened the year before. It just went a little bit up north of us this time so we got lucky.”
Hurricane Florence made landfall in NC as a category 2, causing devastating flooding for much of our area and leaving some oyster beds shut down for weeks.
Now nearly five months later, businesses on the Grand Strand are getting oysters from the waterways that run through the area.
"Just like shrimp, oysters bring money to the area," Tomlin said. "Commercial fishermen have to provide for their families and I would much rather they buy locally than from Texas or Florida."