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‘Oysters and Oldies’

Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 2:03 pm

Saturday afternoon was perfect for eating oysters. It must have been. Phil Gates ate 120 of them at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church’s annual “Oysters and Oldies” at Mason Brent’s “Roanoke” in Heathsville.

“It was a perfect day,” Bill Kirby, who told the tale on Gates, said Monday morning. The sky was clear and the temperature, while not balmy was moderate as Brent and his assistants roasted 28 bushels of oysters. They kept at least four piles of oysters at a time steaming under wet burlap bags.

The weather may have had something to do with the unusually large numbers of walk ins who stopped for the roast. It is usually mainly populated by people who bought their tickets in advance, Kirby said.

In addition to the oysters, which were supplied by Purcell Seafood and had been caught from the Great Wicomico the day before the party, guests ate all the hot dogs offered and drank up all three kegs of Montross Brewery beer “and then some,” Kirby said. The brewery had donated several partially emptied kegs left over from an event a week earlier. All that was drunk, too. The wine bar was also exhausted. The only consumable left at the end of the party was about two gallons of the 30 gallons of chili prepared for the party.

Kirby said 350 people came to the event and the church raised more than $9,000 which will be donated to area charitable organizations. A 50-50 drawing raised $500 by itself. Evie Cox was at the ticket table and was making hard sales pitches on the 50-50 tickets. “Evie twisted everybody’s arm,” Kirby said.

Twenty-eight bushels of oysters were steamed under wet burlap sacks

and served to 350 guests who came out to support local charities.