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Gallons of oysters devoured

Visitors to Frederick gulp down delicacy

FREDERICK  There's no place in Oklahoma where you can get fresh oysters straight from the Gulf of Mexico like you do at the annual Frederick Fantastic Oyster Fry. By living in a landlocked state, Oklahomans are deprived of any fresh-from-the-water seafood. But on Saturday, the people of Frederick gave their neighbors a taste of the gulf when they drove down to Port Levaca, Texas, the night before to pick up 100,000 gallons of oysters and came right back up to the little town just north of the Red River.

The oyster fry has been around the Frederick area since 1952 after starting in Manitou as a PTA fundraiser and stayed there for 30 years. Today, the annual event serves as a fundraiser for the Frederick Chamber of Commerce having occupied Frederick since the early '90s. Felisha Crawford, executive director of the Frederick chamber, said last year's oyster fry served over 900 people. She said this year they're looking at over 1,000. Her favorite part about the oyster fry is all the fresh faces that make their way to Frederick.

"We had a tour group from Yukon come and they said they didn't know that the little towns down here had this much," she said. "They thought all these towns down here were dying. Some of them had never even heard of Frederick."

Frederick is home to more than just the oyster fry. It houses the Historic Ramona Theatre, Bomber Bowl, the Crawford Collection and Hackberry Flats is the town's backyard. It's also home to the Frederick Bombers and the Abernathy Boys. But once a year, Frederick is known as "The Pearl of the Southwest" when it comes time for the oyster fry.

Although, it's not actual pearls that shine during the oyster fry, it's the community of Frederick. It takes quite a few hands to pull the annual event off, but the oyster fry is never short of willing volunteers. The breading process of the oysters starts early in the morning with community volunteers ranging from local civic clubs to parents to students from the local 4-H and FFA chapters, Bomber athletes and scholastic organizations. Some of the older volunteers have been breading and frying the oysters since the oyster fry began in Manitou, but most have been doing it since they were born. The rest of the day consists of frying the oysters and serving them to family and friends and often times strangers from far off places.

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