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Photo of a woman shucking an oyster
Ruth Smith, three-time National Oyster-Shucking Champion - October 18, 1981

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St. Mary's Oyster Festival
A Local Legacy

Have you ever heard of oyster-shucking?

To shuck an oyster you open its shell and detach the oyster inside. Every October, the St. Mary's Oyster Festival in Leonardtown, Maryland, celebrates the opening of the oyster season on the Chesapeake Bay. The festival also recognizes the life of the people who work the waters for a living.

More than 150,000 oysters are eaten during the two-day festival. Shuckers use a special knife to do the job, and one of the events at the Festival is the National Oyster Shucking Championship Contest. People come from all over the country to see who can shuck two-dozen oysters the quickest and the best. Some past winners from this event have gone on to compete in the International Oyster Festival in Galway, Ireland. Many people like their oysters raw, but for those who prefer them cooked, there is a National Oyster Cook-Off.

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