Thursday, February 13, 2014
Plan a carnival and get out of the way.
That seemed to be the effect from the MarshWalk Restaurant’s first Taste of the MarshWalk on Saturday and Sunday and the Surfrider Foundation’s Oyster Roast at K-Rae’s restaurant at Wacca Wache Marina.
While weather put an early damper on the Taste festivities Saturday, as soon as the sun came out, so did the visitors.
And Sunday, the visitors descended en masse on the Inlet, setting up a mini traffic jam and a parking space crisis for much of the late morning and early afternoon. Southbound traffic was backed up to the turnoff from U.S. 17 business into the Inlet, and drivers politely kept eagle eyes peeled for a space.
Similar traffic warned of large crowds at the marina, and the available parking in the lot filled up quickly. Even the golf carts that shuttled those attending the oyster roast and bloody Mary contest from the lot to the restaurant.
Volunteers were kept running to keep the oysters coming.
Along the MarshWalk, cars weren’t the only full vessels.
Bahama Mama, a wooden hull shrimp boat, ran tours of the creek and inlet nonstop and the Sea Gypsy watercraft used for the Pirate Adventure activity sailed the creeks with water cannon blazing.
Landlubbers got their fill of food and drink, sampling the best the Inlet restaurateurs had on offer, and coming back for more.
More than one restaurant was scraping the bottoms of the pots by 2 p.m., with two hours left and the crowds growing.
“It’s pizza from here on out,” said Dustin East, serving up gumbo and ribs from Bovine’s.
“Just three dollah to make you hollah,” proclaimed Bubba Love, as he offered heaps of steamed and fresh oysters.
While the food was the main attraction, there were plenty of other activities to keep people of all ages occupied.
Vendors plied their wares — fish, jewelry, T-shirts, artwork and shell creations, while the kids had all the bouncing, balloons and face painting they could handle.
Vintage cars and trucks in the restaurant parking lots grabbed more than few looks of appreciation, too. Bands played from an impromptu stage and activities spilled into the sponsoring restaurants.