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Shellabration will take place online this year, beginning Dec. 5. (Credit: Jeremy Garretson)

It’s almost time to Shellabrate, this time in the comfort of your own home.

As COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, the Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program is hosting its annual Shellabration fundraiser virtually next month. Instead of noshing on oysters at your favorite Greenport restaurants, local chefs and growers will share tips for participants to improve their oyster game at home.

“It’s an important fundraiser for us,” said CCE outreach coordinator Kimberly Barbour. “So we pivoted to be virtual since it just wasn’t feasible to pack 1,500 people into Greenport at once.”

Instead, Greenport will come to you for just a $25 donation.

On Monday, CCE staff was out filming cooking demonstrations with local chefs and restaurateurs, from places like Noah’s, Ellen’s on Front, First and South and Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market.

A Shellabration ticket will also give you access to specials from participating local oyster growers, so you can prepare your dishes along with the pros. Southold Bay Oysters, Thatch Island Farms, The Sheltered Oyster Company, Shellworks, Founders Oyster Farm and Maris Stella Blue Points have all signed up to participate.

There will also be raffles and a “Shellabingo” game to keep the fun going.

But ultimately, Shellabration will be less about the party this year and more about learning — and not just about food.

“We’re going to take a moment to better explain what the event actually funds,” Ms. Barbour said.

Now in its 9th year, Shellabration supports CCE’s SPAT Program and Back to the Bays Initiative. Back to the Bays connects the community with opportunities to work on marine stewardship projects, including shellfish and habitat restoration. SPAT is a community aquaculture program, and enables the public to grow their own oysters at CCE’s facilities and private docks.   

“We obviously know it’s not Greenport Shellabration [as you know it],” Ms. Barbour said. “But it’s a way to take it home with you and support a nonprofit.”

To buy a ticket or learn more about sponsorship opportunities visit virtualshellabration.org. The ticket will grant a user access to the presentations from Dec. 5 through the end of the year.

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