Sunday, October 19, 2008

Oyster Festival vs. Testicle Festival

Thank God for WOMR, the Provincetown radio station that had the sense to go world wide via the Internet. I am looking out over the Mission Mountains right now, listening the the shucking contest coming to me live from the Wellfleet Oyster Festival. Jim and I sorely miss the festival, Jim spent mornings warming up the crowds with his stories in festivals past, and he and artist Anne Rosen sold plenty of their Christmas children's storybook, "When Santa Clause Met Sandy Claus." But this year, we're listening from Montana. Exciting! I hear the music, I hear Eric Williams announcing, I hear the clicking of the oyster knives!

Well. it's the end of the afternoon, and my granddaughter tore me away from the computer so we could go pumpkin hunting, so I don't know who won. Chopper Young, the world shucking champion at the recent Galway competition (and also the new resident of my old house in Wellfleet) is not in the running, he has gone to compete in Maryland after a hometown celebration on Day One of the fest. . . WISH I had seen that. Coincidences never end, his girlfriend Allison is my niece. I suppose there are no coincidences.
So who was it? Barbara Austin, one of the Morse brothers, Keith Rose, Matt Parent, Paul Suggs, or maybe an out-of-towner, like Anton Christian. All of these contenders were doing pretty well in the preliminaries. The pictures above were taken in '07 at the fest. This year is so different: weather and health and wealth and politics and all of it. But I am imaging every face there, every person I know. All my Paine relatives. Dozens. We like oysters, and our numbers prove it.

OK, so here's the comparison between Cape Cod and Montana.

We don't have an Oyster Festival in Montana, but we do have Prairie Oyster Festival, also known as the Testicle Festival. There is quite a process to producing all those steaks and hamburgers that Americans are addicted to, and one of the processes is to de-bull the bulls, so they won't run around riling the cows in the herd, and fighting each other.
And that means there are lots of left overs from the process, and that would be testicles. In the heat of the summer, people stream from far and wide by bus and bike and RV to partake of the yummy fried prairie oysters. From what I've heard, it's Woodstock on beer and testosterone. Don't believe it? Check it out here on You Tube.

I haven't gotten up the nerve to attend, but maybe next year. I've heard it's not for the squeamish. As a matter of fact, the "testy festy" website is a bit much for me, never mind the actual event. Oysters, yes, bull testicles, no. I'm still a Cape Codder.

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