Crowd enjoys annual oyster roast fundraiser

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SUMMERTON - Folks from as far away as New York enjoyed the Jan. 20 annual St. Matthias Oyster Roast, a fundraiser for the St. Matthias Montessori Preschool in Summerton.

Adam Ramirez, New Yorker and vice president for Isuzu Finance of the United States, came down for the event.

"Adam had never seen an oyster in the steaming shell before," said Carolina Herring, whose husband, Johnnie, is the major coordinator for the fundraiser. "He'd eaten oysters Rockefeller before, but he had no idea how to use an oyster knife and get the oyster out of the shell."

"This is fabulous," Ramirez said at the event. "I came down here just for this, and I won't miss it again."

Locals Mary Taylor and Betty Coffey introduced Ramirez to many of the local folks at the event as well as several local delicacies including catfish stew and chicken bog.

If folks left hungry, it was their own fault, according to Johnnie Herring, who restarted the oyster roast 13 years ago after a decade hiatus.

"We had 450 attendees," Herring said. "They enjoyed 3,600 pounds of oysters, 45 gallons of catfish stew and 15 gallons of chicken bog."

And those totals didn't include the gallons of taco soup that were served along with all the condiments. Coolers lined the back wall of the shed full of ice-cold drinks.

The Scapeore Band entertained the attendees with some downhome Bluegrass while they were enjoying all the delicious food.

Each year, the event is a complete sell-out with folks using the event as a once-a-year chance to reacquaint with friends and enjoy a great night of food and fun.

"We have folks who mail in their checks and pick up their tickets at the door," Caroline Herring said. "Many we don't know, but they know folks here and use this time as a chance to get together."

"I just want to thank everyone who worked so hard making this year's event so successful," Johnnie Herring added. "With everyone working together, we had another great fundraiser for the school. Thanks again to the community and all the folks who purchased tickets. We had a great time and hope everyone else did too."