The Mothershucker needed some smokes and red wine on Friday night. He had traveled from Brooklyn to the Vineyard, missed his first flight and was running late. But now he was here, setting up his oyster station on the Martha’s Vineyard Museum lawn, the ice glistening in the late afternoon sun.

The Mothershucker’s real name is Ben Harney, but he goes by Moody or Mothershucker, depending on the type of day his customer has, he said.

Moody runs an oyster cart in Brooklyn, his path inspired by the story of Thomas Downing, the son of freed slaves who sold oysters on Wall Street in the 1800s. He said he learned his oyster trade down in Louisiana and Florida but said he didn’t think the oysters down there tasted very good.

“Better used in gumbo,” he said.

Ben Harney, aka Moody, aka the Mothershucker, arrived from Brooklyn to give a shucking demonstration and more. — Kevin Hooks.

On Friday night Moody said he shucked about 600 oysters for eager patrons who flocked to his stand after the panel discussion had finished. On Saturday, he stepped out from his station and took part in a cooking demonstration with Julie Qiu of and Alexis Cervasio of East Boston oysters. Moderated by Susie Middleton, special projects editor at the Vineyard Gazette (the newspaper and Cook the Vineyard were sponsors), the panel quickly took on the form of a debate, as the three oyster experts bantered with each other and the crowd about the best way to shuck an oyster. The biggest question of all: to flip or not to flip the meat in the shell after shucking.

“If you love someone, you gotta flip,” Moody said.

The two-day festival was the brain child of Nevette Previd who teamed up with local wine expert John Clift, owner of Vintage MV Wine & Spirits in Edgartown, to make it a wine and dine event. This was its inaugural year, which came as a surprise to many who thought it had been around for years. Part of that was the comfortable vibe of the event, located on the museum lawn overlooking the Vineyard Haven Harbor on a perfect October weekend. The event also had to be cancelled twice due to Covid.

“It has been a long time coming,” Ms. Previd said on Saturday, stopping for just a moment in her whirlwind of duties. “The first one was scheduled for May 2020. That didn’t happen, of course.”

She praised her co-founder, Mr. Clift, and the support of the Island community for keeping the spirit alive. “Everyone came out of the woodwork to help,” she said.

The event was the brainchild of Nevette Previd (left) who teamed up with John Clift. — Kevin Hooks

Ms. Previd has experience creating festivals on the Island, including the Living Local Harvest Festivals and running Farm.Field.Sea., a culinary tourism company. For the oyster festival she was looking to make it to be both tasty and educational.

“I didn’t want it to be just another booze and chow festival,” she said. “People want to learn and to have an experience.”

The rapt audiences at the panels and lines at the oyster stations underscored that she had made good on her intentions.

At the grand tasting Saturday, oyster growers and shuckers from the Vineyard and up the coast to Maine and across the channel on Cuttyhunk, worked feverishly to feed the masses. Rick Karney, also known as the godfather of the Vineyard oyster industry and Babu Chaza in Zanzibar (which means respected elder of shellfish in Kiswahili), got back to his roots with some shucking. He has a torn rotator cuff, he said, and was worried about whether his body would hold up.

“But it really is all in the wrist,” he said of his shucking technique.

Event was held on the lawn at the Martha's Vineyard Museum. — Kevin Hooks

Brian Johnson, volunteer shucker at Blue Moon Oysters, said he was shucking about 600-700 an hour at the beginning of the grand tasting. Mr. Johnson is a bartender by trade and learned his shucking craft due to necessity, he said.

“All my shuckers were too slow, so I picked up a knife and figured it out.”

The Scheffers were everywhere throughout the weekend. Noah Scheffer and his sister Martha filled a tray with Little Minnow Oysters. Across the way Isaiah Scheffer, the Chilmark shellfish constable, was hard at work. Their father Roy Scheffer had come and gone a few times already, unloading more oysters. The only Scheffer missing was Jeremy.

“He’s at a wedding,” Noah offered.

Cottage City Oysters in Oak Bluffs made a mark in many ways. The oyster company run by Martino brothers Greg and Dan had their own station of half shells. Cottage City Oysters were also the main event at Spring Sheldon’s taco truck where the fried oyster tacos sold out quickly, and they even found their way into a signature beer brewed by Bad Martha Brewery.

Oysters in October — what could be finer. — Kevin Hooks

“I first add the shells to the boil,” said Bad Martha brewmaster Cal Scarfone. “Then I add the oyster meat.”

After the boil everything is filtered out and eventually a perfect pairing for oysters arrives: Oyster Stout.

Kaz Kazenske preferred his oysters paired with tequila infused with pineapple and jalapeno. His wife Cherie chose wine.

The couple splits their time between Sarasota, Fla. and Vineyard Haven. They live close enough to walk to the festival.

“Katama Signatures are my favorite,” Kaz said. “I love them.”

Cherie was focused on the bigger picture as she gazed out at the Vineyard Haven Harbor.

“No matter where you go around this Island, seeing the water, it always just stops you,” she said. “And today, taking it all in, this will sustain me all winter.”

More pictures.