Over the last decade the move to try and redirect people’s attention from the strip malls and chain-store sprawl that dominates the region’s corridors to the downtowns has resulted in stronger local economies and a more involved community. The only real difficulty that many of these redeveloping projects have is that they often have to be sustained by festivals and other downtown events that are an additional draw. Many towns seek to tie history together with some other tourism aspect to affect this change. In recent years, Westminster has turned to food as a primary draw.

A downtown filled with people is inspiring. It sparks entrepreneurism and increased involvement, which was just what the organizers had in mind when they kicked off the event last year. During the oyster stroll, visitors can taste farm raised Chesapeake Bay Oysters from various aquafarmers as a central part of a day filled with lots of other activities.

Visit Westminster

The Carroll County Library is supporting this effort by providing entertaining and educational opportunities to help round out the event.  They include:

  • Bill Goldborough, Fisheries Director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will present “Restoring the Coral Reefs of the Chesapeake”, 1 pm on the main floor of the Westminster Branch on Main Street
  • Storytime: Ollie the Oyster, with author Elaine Ann Allen at 2 pm outside the Library on the performance stage, followed by children’s craft activity, book sale and signing immediately afterwards
  • Face painting from 1 to 4 pm by Illusions Body Art
  • Reef balls demo and display, Carroll County Career and Tech students from 12 to 5 pm.
  • Live music: Ken & Wayne, 3 to 5 pm. on the Library’s performance stage

The library also is partnering with Carroll County Public School Schools on some of these events. For example, on display at the Oyster Stroll will be bell-shaped concrete structures or reef balls made by Career and Tech students. The reef balls are part of the Coastal Conservation Association’s  (CCA) Living Reef Action Campaign. The CCA aims to restore nearly 3 million wild oysters to the Chesapeake Bay by creating an artificial reef. Career and Tech students have cast over 170 2-by-2-foot reef balls that the CCA will place in the mid-Chesapeake Bay in 2016. According to the CCA, an oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day. One reef ball will produce 2,000 oysters, creating a natural mechanism to remove the bay’s excess nutrients.

Please see this link for more information on the event: www.OysterStrollMD.com