Madison County boil: Eat oysters on an island without leaving the mountains

The promise of island oysters is not a cruel December joke; actually, it's the Appalachian Oyster Bash & Seafood Boil, a fundraiser for RiverLink and the Downtown Marshall Association. The island in question is Blannahassett Island, an easily accessible landmark in the middle of the French Broad River.

“It’s an ideal spot for a seafood cookout — right on the river and right in downtown Marshall,” says Dave Russell of RiverLink.

The afternoon of low-country boil, local beer, oysters and live music takes place in Marshall High Studios, a former school that now houses artists. Highland, Pisgah and Natty Greene's brewing companies will bring the beer, and Mayfel's, Zuma Coffee of Marshall and Madison Farms will help out with the food. Oysters and other seafood will come from North Carolina CATCH and Locals Seafood of Raleigh. Food is served from 1 t0 7 p.m.

Local bands Common Foundation, The Good Old Boyz, Broken Lilacs and the Dye Wells will play throughout the afternoon. Local boogie boys Screaming Js close out the event with a post-meal concert from 7 to 11 p.m.

Tickets cost $6 in advance or $8 at the event. Kids 10 and under get in for free. The oysters, seafood and beer cost an additional $6, but if you bring three or more canned goods to donate to Neighbors In Need, there's a $3 discount.

Proceeds from the event could flow downstream as RiverLink works throughout the French Broad River Basin. In Asheville, the organization promotes greenways, river recreation and ecosystem health.

For tickets, visit sponsor organization Hills to Holy Water at


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