LAURINBURG — For Tim Beach-Verhey, the abundance of freshly sourced seafood at Saturday’s Chamber on the Half Shell Oyster Roast put a wide smile on his face.
The fun and fellowship at the annual the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce dinner left an even bigger impression.
“This is my first time here and I’ve really enjoyed it and I will be back every year that I can,” said Beach-Verhey, who serves as St. Andrews University Dean of Students. “Great food, hanging out with friends, supporting the community —It feels like a very worth while thing to do and it is a lot of fun.”
More than 500 people packed one of the covered riding arenas at the St. Andrews University Equestrian Center to dine on about 38 bushels of oysters and 200 pounds of shrimp from the Carolina coast. Guests also munched on chicken wings, hush puppies and coleslaw.
When the event began a decade ago, the first roast saw about 200 people. Attendance has more than doubled in subsequent years.
“We have had a good turnout, it is a little over 500 people — the same number as last year,” said Chris English, Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce.
Guests made the trip from as far away as Greensboro, Pinehurst, and even Winston Salem, as well as countless members of the Scotland County community enjoying the night.
“This is my first time at the oyster roast and it is very nice,” said Kara McKeithan, a Laurinburg native now living in Greensboro. “I have seen a lot of friends I haven’t seen in a long time. The shrimp is great and everything else was wonderful.”
The band, Gravy Biscuit was the entertainment for the evening, playing everything from southern rock hits, to Neil Young covers.
“We came just to hangout with some old friends and support this community. The oysters were great, very salty which is a good thing,” said Lisa Hazelden of Pinehurst. “I think this is great for Laurinburg. I think everything the chamber has done to put this together to bring people here and raise money is a great thing for Scotland County.”
In addition to the music, food, and fellowship. The chamber also hosted a 50/50 raffle, and another raffle to win a pearl necklace, pearl earrings, and a gift basket from Belk.
The top three “Pearl” sponsors for the oyster roast were Butler Manufacturing, The City of Laurinburg, and F.C.C. North Carolina.
Proceeds from the oyster roast benefit general chamber programming.
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171