Bivalve Bash Draws 1,250 Oyster Sculptors, Mud Runners, and Shellfish Lovers to Samish Bay

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OK, so maybe this tall and slender oyster midden doesn't look like much. But if you squint your eyes and flex your imagination, I swear it's a winning sculpture--even if the judges at Saturday's Bivalve Bash didn't think so.

It's hard to make out in the picture, since I'm no more a photographer than I am a shell sculptor, but those inside-up oysters are supposed to be an ice-skating rink. There's a Christmas tree standing behind the rink, and the giant oyster mound is a massive skyscraper. The piece is titled "Oysters Rockefeller Center."

Since the contest called for sculptures celebrating the bivalve, I figured our entry was a shoo-in. But, much like last year, the big prizes went to shell artists who made the environment a central component of their creations. At a festival dedicated to promoting clean-water awareness, green themes apparently trump puns.

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Still, I had a terrific time at the festival, and Taylor Shellfish Farms' Kate McDermott tells me the other 1,250 attendees did too. "Everybody had a smile," McDermott says, adding that wet weather didn't spoil the fun.

"It became the quintessential Northwest festival," McDermott says. "The rain was just letting us know it wanted to be there too."

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