TYNE VALLEY -- As a committee member and now the president of the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival, Jeff Noye isn’t eligible to compete in the festival’s signature event, the Canadian Oyster Shucking Championship.
But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know a thing or two about opening the world-famous Malpeque oyster. He will get the chance to prove himself this Thursday night when the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival attempts to set a new world record for most oysters opened in one hour.
Guinness Book of World Records will have an official in attendance to witness the world record attempt and to declare whether the 10 participants in the special event succeed in their attempt.
“In the shucking championship, it’s all about presentation; it’s all about making the oysters look as good as they possibly can. This is about opening the oysters, getting the tops off of them and away they go,” said Noye who has picked up some pointers from his years of association with Canada’s top shuckers and owns the fastest opening times from the last two shellfish festivals in Charlottetown.
He is confident the world record, 8,472 shucked oysters, currently held by a team from France, will belong to Team Canada after Thursday’s demonstration.
To be successful, each of the participants must open, on average, a little more than 14 oysters for every minute the Guinness world record clock ticks towards that hour. Noye recently set out 80 oysters and had them opened in three and a half minutes, thus averaging close to 23 oysters a minute.
The world record for most oysters opened in a minute is 38. It’s held by Patrick McMurray, one of nine Canadian championship participants who have agreed to join Noye for the one-hour marathon.
Each shucker will have two volunteers supplying them with oysters to shuck and taking away the shucked product for verification.
There is a practical edge to the record attempt. Noye estimates between 15,000 and 20,000 oysters will need to be shucked for the festival’s fried oyster dinners on Friday and during the Rock the Boat Music Festival on Saturday, so the Guinness Book of World Records event amounts to free labour for a portion of the dinners.
The comedy group, Just Passing Through, will be emceeing the record attempt.
Noye anticipates the shucking on Thursday will get underway around 8:30 p.m. He’s confident, once everything is counted and verified, Team Canada will hold the world record. He expects the results will be known between 10 and 10:30 p.m. Thursday.