Oysters, music and a good cause brought out hundreds to the 21st Annual Oysterfest to benefit Childhelp, which is celebrating 20 years of serving victims of child abuse in Tennessee,
The festival, which started as a backyard event in the mid-1900s, attracted hundreds to Concord Marina off South Northshore Drive on Saturday, May 7. Attendees went around the vendors, trying peel ‘n eat shrimp, oysters, barbecued chicken, fried okra, steamed mussels, a French fry bar, mac ‘n cheese, gourmet popsicles, beer, wine and margaritas.
Attendees also were able to support Childhelp by participating in a silent auction to raise money for the agency.
“It’s just a good cause,” Lauren Fansler, Knoxville resident, said. “I like to support Childhelp, and it’s good margaritas.”
“We have gotten the best weather,” Hugh Nystrom, Childhelp director, said. “I’m usually stressed about the weather, but not this year. So many people are coming out.
Nystrom estimated a little more than 500 attendees are coming out to this year’s Oysterfest.
“My hope is we run out of food,” he said. “We have about 4,000 oysters, and we have barbecued chicken, baked oysters and jambalaya. “This event helps us raise money for Childhelp, which operates Knox County’s child advocacy center for Knox County and the foster family agency.
“Together, the two programs helped 1,300 children last year,” he said. The agency’s services are free of charge for children, but Nystrom said it takes money to provide those services.
Lucas Haan, Knoxville resident, said he came because the event supported a good cause and he came for the oysters.
“We’ve been here the year be-fore they started [the event],” Joe Thompson, Andersonville re-sident, said.
While Chris Pooler of Ander-sonville said this was his fourth year to attend Oysterfest, Brian Butler, Andersonville resident, said this was his first year.
“I used to work for Department of Human Services,” Shelby Quinley, Lovell Hills resident, said. “We used Childhelp, and we’re here for them.”
“We’ve been wanting to try Oysterfest,” Teckla Patterson, Farragut resident, said.
“We’ve heard about it for several years so we decided to come and check it out,” Lydia Weems, Farragut resident, said.
“We’ve been to this event for quite a few years,” Barbara By-rum said.
“We like to support Childhelp,” Patrick Miller said.
“This is good food and good fun for a great cause,” Trevor Car-lyle, Maryville resident, said.
“It’s a great charitable event,” Kim Gignac, who recently moved to Farragut, said. “Frank Ven-able, a sponsor, told me about it, so I decided to come and check it out. I think it’s great. It’s delicious.”