Sound Rivers Oyster Roast set for Nov. 11

Published 3:12 pm Sunday, September 17, 2023

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Oyster-lovers will once again be shucking under the stars at the 36th-annual Sound Rivers Oyster Roast in Washington.

Set for 6 p.m. on Nov. 11, the Oyster Roast — Sound Rivers’ biggest fundraiser of the year — returns to the Washington Civic Center.

“Sound Rivers has been monitoring and protecting the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico watersheds for more than 40 years, and the Oyster Roast has been around for nearly as long. It’s our way of getting together with all the people who so generously support Sound Rivers’ work; it’s an opportunity to say ‘Thank you,’ and it’s always such a great time,” said Sound Rivers’ Executive Director Heather Deck.

Oyster Roast tickets went on sale this week at the “Early Bird” price of $70 per ticket for members; $90 for non-members. After Oct. 11, tickets can be purchased for $75 per ticket for members; $95 for non-members. Cost of admission includes all-you-can-eat steamed oysters, chili, chowder and beverages.

A VIP option is also available: for $130, VIP ticket-holders will get early access to the oysters, a dedicated shucker from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., a wine tasting, and some Sound Rivers’ merchandise.

“Last year, tickets sold out a month before the Oyster Roast, so it’s worth it to go ahead and get tickets early,” Deck said.

The Oyster Roast is Sound Rivers’ signature fundraising event, but it’s also become a signature event for the City of Washington. With steamed oysters served on plywood tables on the Washington Civic Center grounds and live music by the Chuck Phillips Band on the stage inside, and craft beer supplied by Tarboro Brewing Company, Two Rivers Alehouse (Washington) and Duck Rabbit Brewery (Farmville), the Oyster Roast has maintained its reputation as a great party for a great cause.

The auction — once in-person only, now in-person and online — features items ranging from vacation stays to guided kayaking trips on the Green River Gorge and upper Neuse, to works by local artists and handcrafters. A highlight again this year, are two Megalodon teeth recently found off the coast of North Carolina by scuba-diving Sound Rivers’ supporters. The online auction opens Oct. 27 and runs until 8:30 p.m. the night of the Oyster Roast, where items will be on display in the Civic Center. Direct access to bidding on specific items during the Oyster Roast will take place via a QR code and smartphones. For those unfamiliar with the technology, staff will be available to assist.

Tickets to the Oyster Roast can be purchased at or by calling the Washington office at 252-946-7211.

Founded in 1980-81, Sound Rivers is one of the oldest grassroots conservation organizations in North Carolina. Sound Rivers monitors and protects two watersheds, covering nearly a quarter of the state. With Riverkeepers on the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico rivers, Sound Rivers’ mission is to preserve the waterways’ health and the health of the people who rely on them through science-based advocacy and environmental justice. For more information, visit