Staff photo by Cole Dittmer
Nadia McCoy and her family were visiting Wrightsville Beach from Charlotte when they found the Thanksgiving-themed craft day at the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History on Monday, Nov. 11.
Annabel Arnett eats fried oysters like Skittles.
The 6-year-old was one of few children at the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History on Monday who enjoys eating oysters, the focus of the Nov. 11 children’s program.
After a reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey, a local oysterer told a dozen children in the Wright Holman Room about oystering.
Bubba Temple was in his oystering gear with gloves in hand, and asked the children if they thought he looked silly. He also asked who had eaten oysters before and only a couple of kids raised their hands.
“An oyster is an animal,” Temple said. “Oysters are important for a lot of different reasons. They clean the water.”
One oyster cleans 50 gallons of salt water per day.
With a bucket of muddy oysters in hand, Temple said the oysters can live for 10-14 days when they are muddy and only seven days when clean. Oysters can be harvested locally from October through April.
“Oysters are found all around Wrightsville Beach,” he said.
Sandy May, a museum board member, told the children about a time in Wrightsville Beach history when working class people celebrated the holiday.
“The few people who lived here all year round ate things like oysters,” May said. “… There are other things to eat at Thanksgiving besides turkey.”
Once the first portion of the program finished, children headed to the museum’s back porch to create two turkeys — one edible and one decorative.
Emma Fitzsimmonds, 6, quickly finished the first arts and crafts project making a turkey out of a pinecone and oyster shells. She was one of several children who raised their hands in favor of eating candy corn over oysters.
The Wrightsville Beach Museum Board of Directors decided during spring 2013 to pursue an initiative focusing on new children’s programs.
Kathy Griffin of Wrightsville Beach attended the first children’s program focusing on shells with her grandson, then she and her husband, Sandy, donated money to fund the monthly program for one year.
“We’re trying to attract younger people and families,” May said. “… We want to do programs that aren’t just fun, we want to teach them something.”
The goal is to incorporate local history into each program.
The next children’s program, Christmas at the Beach, for children ages 5 to 9, will be held on Thursday, Dec. 5. For more information or to register, call 910-256-6569.