For Immediate Release
Contact: Maia Ward
June 22, 2021
S.P.A.T. Executive Director
Wellfleet OysterFest 2021 Postponed
Wellfleet S.P.A.T. and The Town of Wellfleet Make a Difficult Decision
(Wellfleet, MA ... June 25, 2021) Wellfleet Shellfish Promotion and Tasting, S.P.A.T., and the Town of Wellfleet have determined that it is necessary to postpone the Annual Wellfleet OysterFest previously scheduled to take place on October 16 & 17, 2021. This postponement is an unavoidable consequence of the ongoing public health and safety concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know that this is an enormous disappointment to everyone who enjoys and benefits from the ‘Fest. Our loyal festival attendees, local food vendors, the fine art and craft exhibitors, community partners, local businesses and most importantly Wellfleet’s shellfishing community for whom the ‘Fest is intended to support,” says Michele Insley, Executive Director for Wellfleet S.P.A.T.
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly. There are two overriding concerns that brought us to this decision,” explains Hillary Greenberg-Lemos, Wellfleet’s Health and Conservation Agent. “First, is the continued uncertainty of the virus and its potential variants as we move into fall. Second, and our primary concern, is to continue to focus on the safety and enjoyment of everyone who attends or participates in the ‘Fest. The limited footprint is possibly too small for the size of the crowd in recent years.”
Even before the 2020 pandemic forced shutdowns, The Wellfleet Fire and Police Departments expressed a concern and need for an enhanced crowd control plan in the interest of pubic safety. In 2019, the Wellfleet OysterFest attracted over 23,000 people, two thirds of which attended on Saturday. “The S.P.A.T. Board recognized this was potentially effecting the attendee experience, and committed itself to reimangining the ‘Fest to better showcase the shellfishing community, enhance the attendee experience, increase safety and fulfill the organization’s mission to preserve, protect and promote Wellfleet’s historic shellfishing industry,” said Nancy O’Connell, S.P.A.T. Board President. “We thank the community for its support and ask for patience as we navigate these challenging times. S.P.A.T. looks forward to celebrating Wellfleet’s shellfishing legacy through a reimagined Wellfleet OysterFest in October 2022.”
Until then there are many ways to support Wellfleet’s shellfishing community. This summer, S.P.A.T. will offer shellfish farm tours so participants can visit a working aquaculture site and learn more about the process of growing and harvesting oysters and clams. Freshly harvested Wellfleet shellfish can be ordered through the Wellfleet Shellfishermen’s Farmers Market or a variety of other fish mongers or seafood retailers on the Cape. “There is no better way to support Wellfleet’s shellfishing families than purchasing and enjoying their fresh catch at home”, says Insley. “Shellfishing is a vital part of the local economy, a sustainable food source and a 400 year old tradition in Wellfleet.”
To register for a tour or place a shellfish order, visit wellfleetspat.org.
- Wellfleet Shellfish Promotion and Tasting (S.P.A.T.) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization and its mission is to preserve, protect and promote the shellfishing and aquaculture industries. S.P.A.T. achieves this through its college scholarship program, community grant awards and other industry related initiatives. To date over $740,000 has been reinvested back into the community.
- Last year, S.P.A.T. directed $92,400 toward emergency pandemic relief efforts to support shellfishing families. The organization has also committed $100,000 to a marketing campaign to differentiate Wellfleet Oysters from other oyster brands, to promote Wellfleet’s unique growing region and connect consumers with the shellfish harvesters and where their food is coming from. To learn more visit wellfleetspat.org.