Photos by Agata Storer
The OysterFest moved to Baker’s Field this year, giving the 7,000 or so people who gathered on Saturday and again on Sunday to celebrate the town’s famous bivalves room to slurp, roam, shop, and play.
Seven raw bars were at the center of the action, and “having them as the centerpiece put the focus on our mission,” said SPAT board president Nancy O’Connell. “And I think with the open space more people ate oysters than ever before.”
Wellfleet SPAT, which organizes the festival, exists to celebrate the oyster but also to educate people about the town’s shellfishing tradition and the environment that sustains it. Proceeds support scholarships and community grants that, according to the SPAT website, have totaled $740,000 since the organization’s founding in 2002.
OysterFest Spelling Bee Results
Liberty Schilpp of Wellfleet correctly spelled “riparian” (which means relating to the banks of a natural water course) to win the adult round (the Quahogs) of the 17th annual OysterFest Spelling Bee on Saturday at the Wellfleet library. On the way to victory she also spelled “toothsome,” “fugu,” and “symbiotic.” Schilpp was the champion the last time the bee took place, in 2019.
There was a three-way tie for Quahogs second place: Jennifer Subrin of Wellfleet, Jessie Swain of Harwich, and Alyia Vasquez of Wellfleet — who is Schilpp’s daughter.
In the Littlenecks round for spellers age 12 and under, first prize went to Annie Gamarello, 10, of Branchburg, N.J. She won by spelling “turtle” correctly. Her brother Lucas, 7, took second prize after a tense spell-off with third-place winner Emma Podolsky, 8, of Maplewood, N.J. Lucas nailed the words “cargo,” “razor,” and “chef.” Emma got “spore” and “hermit,” but missed on “pilot.”
Annie and Lucas are Emma’s cousins. The master of ceremonies pointed out that many notable spellers come from New Jersey.
All the participants in the bee got to choose prizes from an array of books selected by the Wellfleet librarians. —Edward Miller