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Preparations Key as Oyster Fest Begins

The start of the 2010 Norwalk Seaport Association Oyster Festival was still several hours away, but Ben Peck was hard at work Friday on a stack of chicken thighs. Peck and his cooking mates from Moonbeam BBQ, a group of friends who get together to cook, were getting their entries ready for the Kansas City Barbeque Society competition at the Bar-B-Q Pit section of Veterans Memorial Park. The park had been transformed into a veritable Woodstock of grills, smokers and other barbecuing machines.

"It wasn't the best conditions for chopping parsley," Peck said of the cool and breezy weather along the shore. Still, he and Brian Morgan kept trimming, rolling and stacking the 18 sets of thighs that they'll cook, then pick the best six for judges to sample. In addition to chicken, the categories are nearly endless — from clam chowder to whole hogs — stretched over the weekend.

The Oyster Festival begins at 6 p.m. Friday and continues from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Motocross and BMX exhibitions, live music highlighted by Wang Chung on Saturday night, and dozens of tents featuring food and libations served by numerous charitable and fraternal organizations are the highlights of this year's festival. For more details, including parking locations for the free bus shuttle and schedule of events, go to the festival website .

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