LAURINBURG — Hot steam rose from buckets of all-you-could-eat fresh oysters as volunteers carried food around the St. Andrews Equestrian Center for the Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Oyster Roast.
More than 400 people attended the event Saturday to partake of seafood, vegetables, hushpuppies, shrimp, chicken and coleslaw — and for a chance to win one of several raffle prizes.
The $21,000 raised at the event — $5,000 more than expected — will support programs directed by the Chamber of Commerce, to include education, junior leader and government affairs.
Tonia Stephenson, president of the Scotland County Chamber of Commerce, said the roast was “the largest one that (the chamber) has had.”
“We had great music playing all night, we had great food,” she said. “It was very successful.”
Loud country music played at the side of the barn as guests stood in a long line for food. Later, volunteers hurried from table to table, grabbing handfuls of oysters and placing them in front of guests to pry open and devour as they chatted over their meals. Many of the children that attended played a few games of cornhole or simply threw their cornhole bags in the air and ran away laughing.
Tickets for the event were $30 if purchased in advance and $40 at the door. Raffle tickets for prizes were also sold for $5 each.
The prizes consisted of a pearl necklace from Bob’s Jewel Shop, pearl earrings from White’s Jewelry and Repair, custom made cornhole boards, a gift basket from Belk’s, a power yard tool from Southeastern Farm Equipment, a coffee and tea basket from Willow Place, a dinner for two and a night’s stay at the Comfort Inn as well as other prizes.
Stephenson said that the university had “been very accommodating” throughout the last few years for allowing Chamber of Commerce to host their oyster roast events at the equestrian center.
About 80 volunteers helped with set up, clean up, parking, serving and helping guests at the event.
The oysters were purchased from a fish house in Varnomtown, N.C. and the music was provided by DJ Dave Wells of WLNC and a local band called Once and Again.
Sue Ellen, of Laurinburg, said that she’s been going to the annual oyster roasts for years with her father, JC Burnette.
“We have a great time every year,” Ellen said.