This year’s festival marks the 28th anniversary of one of the most popular festivals in the Western Cape. The first Oyster Festival took place in 1983 and was the brainchild of the late Dick Ginsberg who as a businessman in Knysna organized this winter festival to attract visitors to the town during this predominantly quiet period of the year. Initially the festival featured events such as rugby, bowls golf and squash with the navy being involved almost from the outset with freedom of entry into the Knysna municipal area being bestowed on it in 1984.
Today the festival features more than a 100 exciting events ranging from cycling, running and adventure races to wine and whiskey tastings and of course the now infamous oyster shucking competition which attracts visitors from around the country and abroad as well.  Oyster hotspots around town will be selling oysters in a variety of tastes and flavours whilst the annual Pick n Pay Oyster & Wine Mardi Gras, traditionally attracts large numbers of people to this oyster and wine tasting extravaganza each year.
Through the years the Navy has come to prominence in this festival and their entrance through the Knysna Heads heralds the start of this event, with the Navy Band entertaining visitors during the street parade and at the waterfront with a live concert.
The festival programme is geared towards family participation with lots of fun for all and if one considers that during this festival more than 200 000 oysters are consumed and 65 000 plus visitors are expected you can understand why this festival attracts so much interest each year.