August 31 2009 by Karla Henriquez
September is just around the corner and I'm looking forward to The Norwalk Oyster Festival at Veterans Memorial Park, right on the water, in Norwalk, Connecticut. This year, the festivities begin on September 11th and go through the 13th. The festival is always delicious, and this year promises to be no different with the spotlight event being The Bar-B-Q Pit. New England's grill masters will be competing for some pretty serious prizes while the rest of us walk around watching people and licking sauce off our fingers.
I also love the opportunity to tour working boats just off the docks - it's a rare glimpse into the life of a modern-day fisherman and his vessel. For those who are squeamish about the smell of fish, there are more traditional harbor cruises, offering a chance to relax and have a few drinks while you tour the Long Island Sound and see the Gold Coast from the water.
If you're planning on taking your family, your best bet is to arrive at the Kids' Cove early since you'll get a special price for unlimited rides between 11 am and 2 pm. You can also plan to attend on Sunday, which is the official Family Day. Kid's Cove is a fun and traditional carnival with all the rides and treats kids have been enjoying for generations - shaved ice, cotton candy, a Ferris wheel, and a merry-go-round along with some newer, more exhilarating options for older kids. Another plus is that most of the food vendors that participate in the festival offer kid-friendly choices and portions.
On Saturday, the festival will be swinging while Big Bad Voodoo Daddy performs. If you're a fan, you're probably already planning on being there. If you don't yet know this band, you should definitely check them out. They're a full swing band with a great sound - a version of one of their songs is in the new G.I. Joe movie that's playing in theaters now.
If you're visiting from out of town, you can stay a few miles from Norwalk at the Best Western Blackrock Inn which is in Fairfield, considered to be one of the most preppy towns in the Northeast. Both the 1975 movie, Stepford Wives, was filmed here, as well as the recently released Revolutionary Road. This town actually has a pretty lively restaurant and bar scene and five miles of its own beach, which may offer a break from the crowds at the festival. If you're in the area, you should also make a point to visit my hometown, New Canaan, which is just inland from Norwalk. Check out the shops on picturesque Elm Street and make sure to stop in at Gelatissimo on Forest Street for my favorite gelato.