Micro 22, Arcata Bay Oyster Festival

This is the 22nd post in the series Microposts. Start reading at the beginning, Micro 22, Arcata Bay Oyster Festival.


Oysters! At the Arcata Bay Oyster Festival!

Four half-shell oysters with toppings on a paper plate. Two have wasabi, ume plum paste, and thinly sliced green onions. Two have finely chopped onions and a champagne mignonette.
Three half-shell oysters with a pile of cucumber, green onion, jalapeño, and cilantro.
Unshucked oysters spread out across a large outdoor grill.

(Left). With wasabi, ume, and green onions. The others with a mignonette.
(Center). With a cucumber jalapeño “salsa”.
(Right). Oysters on the grill.

All of the oysters I ate were Humboldt local.


But! The oyster festival was not without its controvery and drama this year!

First, there was a thing where the California Department of Public Health officials closed the bay because a test showed dangerously high levels of the bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Suddenly everyone was trying to figure out where they were getting their oysters from instead.


Then! It was discovered that there was a “math error” made at the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory. The oysters were fine.

Really. That’s how they described it. A “math error.”


“It’s probably fine,” I thought to myself as I ate a dozen oysters. “I probably won’t get super duper awful sick.”

(It was fine.)

Content Warning (Alcohol)


But that’s not even half the drama!

The festival apparently asked all of the local breweries to donate beer to the festival. In previous years there were arrangements like the festival would purchase one keg for each keg donated.

But this year they didn’t want to pay at all.


In response the local breweries decided to hold their own, competing oyster festival.

And they named it “Shuck Yeah!” which is the best name for an oyster festival that has ever existed.


Anyway I have no idea how many people went to Shuck Yeah! instead of the Arcata Bay festival because it was in Fortuna and who wants to drive to Fortuna? And we didn’t really hear about this until after the festival whoooooops.

Content Warning (Alcohol)


Speaking of North Coast local breweries! We went to Redwood Curtain Brewing Company and had a couple of really nice beers.

Head out back to the food truck for some super solid fish and chips.


A staircase leads to the second story offices above a large tasting room, filled with tables and chairs. Games of various sorts, including classic board games and cornhole boards are stacked under the staircase. A life-sized cardboard cutout of former president Barack Obama stands at the top of the stairs, arms folded.

But like every two minutes I was startled when I saw this cardboard cutout out of the corner of my eye.

Like oh my gosh, Mr. President, what are you doing here? Can… can I buy you a beer?


The other side of the tasting room, with large windows looking out. A North Coast van can be seen through the window. A door is propped open, and a tiny cardboard figure, maybe only 9 inches tall, of Danny DeVito is peeking out from behind the emergency exit sign above the door.

And then there was also this tiny Danny DeVito too??


An embroidered luggage tag with block letters saying 'ART MAY OCCUR'.

Is this a threat?


A double exposure of a book. On the left side of the photograph the book's spine is pointed to the camera. It reads 'THIS IS HAPPENING'. The photo tears to the right of the spine, and part of the front of the book faces the camera on the right side of the photograph. The letters 'S', 'PPEN', and 'Edited by Bridget Watson Payne' are legible.

I took a photo of this book so I could make a joke but my phone glitched out and took this really weird multiple exposure?

Which somehow felt very right??


Anyway the joke was:

This Is Happening, part of the best selling trilogy:

This Is Happening
Why Is This Happening?
How Do I Stop It From Happening?


(In Truth the book was one of those printed collections of Instagram photos. The sort they might sell at an Urban Outfitters as a kind of capitalism-co-opted-pseudo-authentic-ephemera [spicy hot take warning «airhorn noises»])


Detail of the Creature from the Black Lagoon table. The right ramp with its feature labels 'Big Millions', 'Movie Madness', and 'Count up to Feature'. The center snack bar hole with feature lights 'Super Jackpot', Jackpot', 'Rescue', and 'Multiball Restart'. The left ramp 'Double Feature Combo'. The center lane with 'Extra Ball', 'Hey, Move Your Car!', 'Parking OK'. The snack bar targets 'Snack Bar', and 'Mega Menu'. The upper area 'Admit one FILM', with 'L' emphasized, and the 'PAID' lanes in the back.

Creature from the Black Lagoon is one of my favorite pinball tables. This is a thing I have opinions on now???