Oysters anyone? Fire company’s historic fundraiser doubles as annual reunion

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Georgetown Fire Company Inc.’s annual Oyster Eat is this Friday at Station 77.

GEORGETOWN — Tasty fundraising tradition continues this Friday evening with the Georgetown Fire Company Inc.’s 79th Annual Oyster Eat.

Station 77 on S. Bedford Street is the staging venue for the 21-and-older, men-only event that features several oyster offerings, fresh egg salad sandwiches, hot dogs, popcorn and legal beverages.

A gun raffle drawing and a live auction for a hand-crafted oyster knife will punctuate the event that runs from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Tickets are $27 in advance and $30 at the door.

Tickets may be purchased in advance at Schagrin Gas in Lewes/Rehoboth, Baker’s True Value Hardware in Millsboro, 16 Mile Brewing Company in Georgetown, First State Chevrolet in Georgetown or from any Georgetown Fire Company member.

The event dates back to 1937 when the fire company established an annual fundraising effort. The Oyster Eat has been recognized by the United States Congress for its historical and cultural significance.

“This is the largest fundraiser that the company does every year,” said 20-year Georgetown Fire Company member Michael Briggs, chairman of the Oyster Eat committee.

This year’s gun raffle features a Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon 12 Gauge /Over and Under Shotgun with a 28-inch barrel, three-inch chamber with tubes.

Gun raffle tickets are $5 each or three for $10. The drawing is scheduled for around 10:30 p.m.

Live auction bidding for the knife will start around 10 p.m.

“We’ve done that probably 35 years,” said Mr. Briggs. “It’s kind of a big deal. Last year I think it brought in like $2,500. The highest it is has been is like $8,200. It all depends on who wants to bid and who has got the money.”

The oyster knife is a long-standing Oyster Eat tradition. Vernon Ellingsworth and Emory Short were among the past crafters. In the past decade or so knives have been made and donated by local craftsman Rocky Green and son Neal Green, who is presently stationed with the U.S. Army at Fort Knox.

“My son and I have been doing them for quite a few years,” said Rocky Green. “I did this one myself. I used one of the blanks Neal had made.”

The wood handle is Brazilian cherry.

“It finishes off quite nice,” said Rocky Green. “My son, this is a side business he has, had some blanks made. The blanks are good stainless steel. It really holds up well opening oysters. They are pretty tough.”

In addition, the fire company will have commemorative hats and apparel for sale.

The event’s food inventory includes 125 bushels of oysters for steamed or raw consumption, about 60 gallons of shucked oysters, 260 dozen eggs and 3,000 hot dogs.

Station 77’s Auxiliary will make the egg salad sandwiches just prior to the event.

Oyster knives will be on sale for patrons who do not have their own.

Rocky Green plans to be among the patrons.

“Absolutely; I don’t go out much but one thing I do is go to the Oyster Eat,” said the 61-year-old Georgetown resident. “It is kind of like a class reunion. You can see guys that you have known all your life but you only get to see them once a year. And you see them at the Oyster Eat.”

“It is kind of a unique experience,” Rocky Green added. “My son went to the University of Delaware. Neal can’t often make it because of being in the service but he has a couple fraternity brothers that come down. I’ll hang out with them. They are really great guys.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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