On Sunday, August 27, 2000, Guinness and fresh sea oysters will take over the Nicollet Mall as Guinness celebrates the Minneapolis version of the Galway Ireland International Oyster Festival. Fresh oyster stands and a mobile bar serving perfect pints of Guinness will line the Nicollet Mall between 9th and 12th streets from noon until 8 p.m. The event is conveniently located between The Local and Brit’s Pub restaurants and admission is free.
Festivities include live music from The Camdens and other local English-influenced bands and blues artists throughout the day on the Brit’s Pub Stage. The Local Stage features live Irish entertainment including: The Tim Malloys, Paddy O’Brien Trio, Irish Celili Dancers and the largest collection of traditional Irish musicians ever to appear on-stage together in Minnesota. A lawn bowling green will be set up on the Nicollet Mall as well as a cribbage and chess competition area. An art tent will be set-up for kids where they can decorate paper king and queen crowns. A local artist will be forming the discarded oyster shells into “Oyster Art.”
The special association between Guinness and oysters can be traced back to Victorian times when oysters were a dietary staple in Ireland. Today, the culinary combination, which is said to go together like strawberries and cream, waffles and syrup, and corned beef and cabbage, continues to be enjoyed by many and is served in some of the finest restaurants throughout Europe and the U.S.
Back in the 1600’s when the first settlers arrived in the U.S., the Atlantic Coast was rich with oysters which were larger and more plentiful than the European variety. However, it was in the 1800’s when oysters became common American fare and a major source in international commerce for the growing eastern seaports. After 1850, the booming oyster trade extended west to California and east through most of Europe. At that time, oysters were served stewed, baked, roasted, fried, and scalloped; made into puddings, soups, and stews; and served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Guinness’ first shipment to the U.S., in 1858, arrived right at the height of the oyster industry. While trains delivered oysters packed in ice to inland destinations throughout North America, Arthur Guinness Son & Co. supplied stouts and porters to many of the same cities, even winning a gold medal in Chicago in 1893. By 1877, New York’s famous Fulton Fish Market recorded sales exceeding 50,000 oysters daily.
All proceeds benefit the Minneapolis Downtown Council (DTC) a private, nonprofit corporation that promotes the growth and development of downtown Minneapolis and serves as the voice of the business community. Co-sponsors include Sun Country Airlines and 92 KQRS.
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Guinness Bass Import Company (GBIC) is the U.S. sales and marketing arm of Guinness, Ltd., a division of Diageo, Plc. The GIC portfolio of premium imports includes Guinness, Harp lager, Bass ale, Red Stripe, Pilsner Urquell, Kaliber nonalcoholic brew, and Caffrey’s Irish Ale.