The Milford Oyster Festival is a food and music event that's held every year in the City of Milford, Connecticut. Often simply referred to as "Oysterfest," it has grown into one of the most popular food events in the New England region.
The first ever Milford Oyster Festival took place in 1975 at the Milford Green and Fowler Field. It started as a two-day event but now takes place on a single day. It is organized every year by Annual Milford Oyster Festival, Inc. (AMOF), which is a volunteer-run non-profit organization. It is sponsored by a number of local and national businesses, government groups and nonprofits.
In addition to the delicious food, attendees can enjoy many other fun activities like oyster shucking, amusement rides, arts, crafts, and sports. The festival also features musical acts every year. Artists who have headlined the event in the past include Blackberry Smoke, Gin Blossoms, The Spin Doctors, The Marshall Tucker Band, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and Jefferson Starship.
The festival attracts thousands of tourists every year and appears on many lists as one of the top events in Connecticut. It is an integral part of the heritage of Milford and an annual tradition that residents and visitors look forward to all year. Camp near Long Island Sound on your journey to this foodie festival.
The Milford Oyster Festival is open to all, and admission is free. There are a number of sponsorship opportunities for those who'd like to contribute. Another way to support the event is by donating funds to one of its affiliated non-profit organizations. You could also volunteer at the event and support local businesses by buying their products and merchandise. Take a look at the official festival website for more information.
The festival takes place in Downtown Milford, and you can likely get there in your vehicle without too many problems. Look for the Milford Oyster Festival on Google maps or your GPS app. Keep in mind that parking can be challenging to find, especially on the day of the event. So get there early if you plan to drive, or better yet, use public transport and let your rig stay at the campsite if possible.
There are a few paid parking options in the downtown area, but these tend to fill up fast on the days of the festival. The organizers have designated some handicapped parking locations in the city. Special shuttle buses will be available to get seniors and patrons with disabilities from these spots to the event site.
The easiest way to get to the event is often by train. Both the West Haven Metro Station and the Milford Metro Station are close to the festival site. There will also be a shuttle service ferrying passengers to and from the venue. Information on shuttle timings and drop off points is available on the website.
Onsite camping or parking your vehicle overnight will not be permitted. Book a spot at an RV park nearby in advance.
If you want to park your RV overnight and enjoy a campsite-like experience, you'll need to look beyond the downtown area. There are a few well-equipped options in the nearby towns like North Branford and Southbury. These are less than 25 miles away and come with facilities like full-hookups and big rig access.
A large portion of Milford's downtown area is dedicated to the festival, so you can use a bicycle, scooter, or skateboard to get around the sites. However, it's easy to get from one point to another on foot, and you won't have to worry about parking. Most parts of the venue are fully accessible, and every effort will be made to cater to guests with disabilities.
Casual summer attire is the way to go, and most attendees will be dressed in t-shirts, shorts, and jeans. The vibe is pretty relaxed, and the focus is on eating and having a good time. Wear lightweight, breathable fabrics and put on a sturdy pair of covered shoes. It can get quite crowded, and this way you can keep your tootsies comfy and protected.
Take a small bag packed with all your essentials. Carry sunscreen, a refillable bottle, a hat, sunglasses, hand sanitizer, and a portable charger. Keep in mind that it's an all-ages festival that's free for all. So don't take anything that could be dangerous or get you escorted out of the Milford Oyster Festival.
Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks to get out of the hot sun. The festival site will be pretty crowded on the days of the event, so stay close to your group and use the buddy system for safety. If you are with children, ensure that they are supervised at all times. Choose a place where your family can meet if you do become separated.
Cooking is not allowed on the festival site, and guests will not be permitted to bring in outside food and beverages. If you'd like to cook at your campsite, check on the regulations for your site before arrival. Many campgrounds in the area have restrictions when it comes to lighting open fires or digging pits. While there are some grocery options near the festival site, you may find it easier to bring items with you or obtain them near your campground, and miss some of the crowds.
There are plenty of bars and restaurants in Downtown Milford where you can enjoy excellent food and great service. Whether you're craving classic American cuisine or something a bit more exotic, you'll find it here. Milford is known for some exceptional Italian fare, so be sure to try this out or choose from one of the many seafood restaurants along the coast.
As its name suggests, the main attraction at the festival is the oysters. There will be different types of oysters to try, all harvested in Milford waters. A large area is dedicated to the food court where you can enjoy a wide range of eats. There will also be alcoholic beverages like craft beers and fine wines for sale.
Security personnel and volunteers will be on hand to control the crowds and supervise the flow of traffic. Random bag checks may be done, so make sure you're not carrying any prohibited items. Anyone seen breaking the festival rules will be escorted out of the venue and not allowed back in.
The Milford Oyster Festival will happen, rain or shine. It's a good idea to carry some rain gear so you can continue to enjoy the event even if there are sudden showers. In the rare event of severe weather, evacuation measures are in place. Festival attendees will be notified about any changes or cancellations through the festival's social media accounts.
There will be a first-aid tent on site staffed with trained EMTs. If you or someone you know requires medical assistance, you can flag down one of the volunteers or medical staff. The needs of patrons with disabilities will be given special attention. You can contact the organizers in advance if you have any requests or queries regarding accessibility.