And the win­ner is…

Close to 30 shuck­ers ex­pected for Cana­dian Oys­ter Shuck­ing cham­pi­onship

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY ERIC MCCARTHY

Montreal’s Daniel Notkin will have to be at his best if he wants to de­fend his 2016 ti­tle tonight at the Tyne Val­ley Oys­ter Fes­ti­val’s 2017 Cana­dian Oys­ter Shuck­ing cham­pi­onship.

“All the big guys are coming,” said Jeff Noye, pres­i­dent of the pop­u­lar P.E.I. fes­ti­val. He calls them the “heavy­weights”.

Noye said he’s an­tic­i­pat­ing close to 30 peo­ple to vie for the chance to rep­re­sent Canada at the world cham­pi­onship this fall in Ire­land. Notkin did well last year in Ire­land de­spite in­jur­ing his hand early in that com­pe­ti­tion.

Notkin had com­peted in Tyne Val­ley ap­prox­i­mately 10 times be­fore win­ning the Cana­dian ti­tle. Among the re­turn­ing vet­er­ans is Ea­mon Clark, who is hun­gry for the win af­ter be­ing de­throned by Notkin last year.

“He’s been gun­ning for him, so, who knows?” said Noye.

Gordie MacKee­man and His Rhythm Boys will pro­vide the pub-style mu­sic for the cham­pi­onship night.

And the world will get to see the party hap­pen­ing live. In re­sponse to all the calls for up­dates dur­ing com­pe­ti­tion in pre­vi­ous years, the Oys­ter Fes­ti­val pi­loted a live-stream last year, gain­ing view­ers from Europe, Aus­tralia, United States and across Canada. Thou­sands of view­ers tuned in, Noye said.

This year the oys­ter fes­ti­val has its own chan­nel, ShuckTV. com, to carry the event, and it will still be view­able on YouTube and Face­book.

“The early re­sponse has been tremen­dous,” said Noye, adding that oys­ter bars across the coun­try are or­ga­niz­ing view­ing par­ties.

He’s con­fi­dent they will see the party they’re miss­ing live and will want to be in at­ten­dance in Tyne Val­ley in fu­ture years.

Other events on this year’s fes­ti­val sched­ule are hyp­no­tist Ian Ste­wart and the Shuck Cup with mu­sic by Old Doc­tor Young on Thurs­day night, the an­nual pa­rade on Saturday at 11 a.m., the Rock the Boat Mu­sic Fes­ti­val at Green Park start­ing Saturday at 2 p.m. and an adult singing com­pe­ti­tion, Miss Oys­ter Fes­ti­val Pageant and com­mu­nity awards Sun­day af­ter­noon. There are also sev­eral chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties on the fes­ti­val sched­ule.

The Rock the Boat Mu­sic Fest, which con­tin­ues to 11 p.m. Saturday, has been ex­panded to seven acts, clos­ing out with Cana­dian Rock greats, April Wine. Other head­lin­ers are Fin­ger Eleven, Slow Coaster and two Prince County acts, Gordie MacKee­man and His Rhythm Boys and the El­lis Fam­ily Band.

The fes­ti­val added two West Prince acts, Aron Scott Earth­quake and Ben Chase to the pro­gram.

“We just want to pro­mote some West Prince artists,” Noye said of the ad­di­tions.

With so many acts, the mu­sic starts as soon as the gates open at 2 p.m.

“There’s go­ing to be mu­sic non-stop all day,” Noye promised.

As for the com­mu­nity pa­rade Saturday morn­ing, “Some peo­ple put a lot of work into it, and it is a com­mu­nity-based pa­rade. It is not a com­mer­cial pa­rade, so it is very highly re­garded in that re­spect.”

“We’ve got a good one. A lot of peo­ple take pride in their floats. That’s what it’s all about, and we have a good com­pe­ti­tion go­ing be­tween the floats.”

ERIC MCCARTHY/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER FILE PHOTO

The hands of Tyne Val­ley Oys­ter Fes­ti­val pres­i­dent Jeff Noye are a blur as he demon­strates the art of oys­ter shuck­ing. The Tyne Val­ley Oys­ter Fes­ti­val plays host to the Cana­dian Oys­ter Shuck­ing cham­pi­onship Friday night at the Tyne Val­ley Sports Cen­tre.

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