East Coast’s Premier Public Gardens Usher in Autumn with Coastal Flavor; Nation’s Fall Enthusiast Expected to Flock to Airlie Oyster Roast Tradition

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It’s a tradition spanning more than a decade, and it quickly has become a renowned Southern custom. Just as important, eyes up and down the Eastern Seaboard look to the annual Airlie Oyster Roast as the official kickoff of the upcoming holiday season.

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It is a tradition here at Airlie, and for many people who attend the roast it becomes a tradition all their own.

A fall party held in a cozy backyard setting – one that finds guests dancing to Motown beneath a Live Oak more than 400 years old. The scent of salty, roasted oysters drifts about while stars poke through the coastal night sky.

It’s a tradition spanning more than a decade, and it quickly has become a renowned Southern custom. Just as important, eyes up and down the Eastern Seaboard look to the annual Airlie Oyster Roast as the official kickoff of the upcoming holiday season.

This year’s beloved feast of seafood and entertainment will take place at Airlie Gardens – located in Wilmington, N.C. – on October 19 from 6-11 p.m. The 2012 event will be dedicated to Mary Lou McEachern, the founder of the Airlie Butterfly House and a highly-respected regional philanthropist. McEachern – who recently passed away – hosted the first Airlie Oyster Roast a dozen years ago. With out-of-towners and locals alike prepping to take in the experience, organizers of the 2012 roast anticipate big crowds for this year’s festival.

“It is a tradition here at Airlie, and for many people who attend the roast it becomes a tradition all their own,” said Airlie Gardens Foundation Board President Zeke Partin. “Guests agree that Airlie is a great location for intimate backyard events, and it is particularly appropriate for roasting oysters, since it’s one of the only active oyster shell recycling stations around.”

All proceeds will benefit Airlie’s environmental education program, which provides ongoing opportunities for people of all ages to learn about this part of the country’s unique eco-system.

Tickets for the event must be purchased in advance. Call (910) 798-7709 or visit Airlie’s online ticketing program.

What: The Airlie Oyster Roast
When: Friday, October 19 from 6 – 11 p.m.
Where: Airlie Gardens, 300 Airlie Road, Wilmington, N.C.
Who: Open to the general public

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Hilary Brady
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