||This article needs to be updated. (February 2017)|
Funds raised by the festival help the Norwalk Seaport Association maintain the Sheffield Island Lighthouse as well as develop science education classes. The festival is also used as a fundraiser by more than 20 other local non-profit organizations.
The festival has been run by the Norwalk Seaport Association, a non profit organization, since its inception in 1978. Average annual attendance exceeds 90,000. Each year, the Oyster Festival contributes over $5 million to the local economy.
It features various food, vendors, and entertainment, and celebrates the history of the oyster industry based in Norwalk. In the past, featured performers have included the Village People, Kansas, Charlie Daniels Band, Joe Walsh, Willie Nelson, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Tito Puente, Cheap Trick, Little Feat, The Monkees, Judy Collins, Up with People, and Little Richard.
The 30th annual festival took place September 7 to September 9, 2007 with the Village People heading up the entertainment, the band's third appearance. Jay and the Americans were also booked for the event.
The 31st annual festival took place September 5 to September 7, 2008. The festival was called off on Saturday the 6th to accommodate the rain from Hurricane Hanna.Los Lonely Boys performed Friday evening and Kathy Sledge performed Sunday evening.
On September 8, 2013, 17 children and one adult were injured in an amusement ride accident in when a swing ride suffered a mechanical failure. Several injured were transported to Norwalk, Stamford and Bridgeport hospitals. None of the injuries were life-threatening.