Destination Osoyoos is popping open new options in the seventh annual Osoyoos Oyster Festival, April 18-22, presenting the South Okanagan as a premier destination for everything oysters. Select first-class dining experiences, sample oysters from around the world and sip award-winning wine, cider, beer and spirits in this unique celebration.

Liz Dryer, project manager, explains, “As we grow, it’s important to respond to festival feedback, enhance events and develop ideas.”

Oysters and seafood are exclusively provided by the festival’s greatest supporters/champions — Jon and Anne-Marie Crofts of Codfathers’ Seafood Market in Kelowna. Destination Osoyoos hopes “Shucker Paddy” — Patrick McMurray, owner The Ceili Cottage Restaurant, Toronto, and former World Champion Oyster Shucker — will return.

Last year’s hit, the Beach BBQ & Brews, moves to Walnut Beach, Friday evening, April 20. Leveraging the pool deck and beach, there’s tiki lighting with seating right on the beach. Sample oysters or other seafood creations prepared on deck barbecues by local chefs with tastings by local cideries, breweries and distillers. Irish and Canadian whiskeys are featured: Watch for Colin MacDougall, Canadian Whiskey Brand Ambassador for Western Canada, showcasing products such as J.P. Wisers, Lot 40, Gooderham & Worts and Pike Creek, along with Ciara Cannon, Jameson Brand Ambassador. (As part of the weekend, MacDougall and Cannon offer a whiskey and oyster master class with limited ticket availability.)

Sponsored in part by Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association, the Deep Sea Garden Party and Art of the Pearl Gala return. For the three signature events, shuttle service by OK Wine Shuttle is included in the ticket price.

The Deep Sea Garden Party takes place Saturday afternoon, April 21, at Watermark Beach Resort. Amid a musical backdrop, local wineries, breweries and cideries are featured with fresh-shucked East and West Coast oysters. New last year is The Garden Market, where local vendors offer samples and products for sale, including a Pint o’ Prawns featuring BC spot prawns.

The Art of the Pearl Gala is at Spirit Ridge, Saturday night, April 21. Guests are encouraged to wear costumes to vie for prizes. The gala begins with light canapes and sparkling wine in the Conference Centre’s lovely courtyard. The main event spotlights 10 local chefs/restaurants’ seafood creations, and 20 wineries sharing samples, 7 to 9:30 pm, with live entertainment, plus awards for the best dish and best wine pairing. Once again “grab bags” are offered for sale, with chances to win authentic pearl jewelry, cookbooks, gift certificates, wine and other goodies. After the wine and food service, festivities continue with dancing and a cash bar.

Confirmed partner events: The Miradoro Long Table Dinner, 6:30 pm, Wednesday, April 18, starts with freshly shucked oysters followed by a three-course meal; Under the Tuscan Sea, Terrafina at Hester Creek by RauDZ, 6:30 pm, Thursday, April 19, a stand-up reception to graze stations of oysters and pizza while sipping bubbly from Hester Creek and its neighbours.

For details and tickets, plus information on special Oysterfest packages offered by Osoyoos hotels and resorts, visit destinationosoyoos.com/ooysterfest.

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