IT REALLY DOESN'T MATTER: Honest, it doesn't. You can have an adventurous palate and a wish to taste every whimsical dish known to humankind, but you'll never, in your travels, come across a term that's as delightful as shucker, or any of the shuck-ian words that have to do with the act of opening an oyster. The only word that comes close to shucking, for charm and pure appeal, is "slurping," and that, too, is related to mollusk enjoyment. In short? Oysters have it in the lively language department, a department many less exciting foodstuffs on dream of visiting. (Sorry edibles that are merely sliced or spooned; you really need to talk to your public relations staff.) So when the Central Coast Oyster & Music Festival says that some "4,000 shuckers and jivers" show for its annual Avila Beach hoedown, well, that just sounds like a party in the making. There's a full-day music festival to boot, in addition to the enjoyment of oceanic foods, so count on sand, salty breezes, briny bites, local beers, local wines, tunes, and the conviviality of La Vida Central Coast. Everything on that line-up is a mood-improver on its own, but together? Yeah, shucking sweetness awaits.
DETAILS AND TO-KNOWS: Morro Bay Oyster Co. Pacific Gold Oysters are the "main cuisine of the event," so, yep, the oysters come from the area. (It's a bummer when oysters have to pack little suitcases and fly from faraway for a big local festival.) If you aren't into slurpy supping, other eats'll be on the grounds, but if you are, you are in luck. Or shuck? Yes, you are in shuck. There's also a shucking contest, too, which will be quite the fast-fingers challenge (the words "prying prowess" spring to mind). And art installations? Another part of the day. And that day is Saturday, June 7. That's a good way to close down late spring and welcome the rest of summer. Question: Early June isn't technically summer, we know, but when oysters and bands and the beach are in the mix, isn't it kind of honorary summer? That's what we're sticking by.