The event will also include a DVD signing and reception, including free oysters and champagne. To celebrate its release, Cox will be offering a discount of $10 off this unique "Preservation Edition" Collection.
"Inspired by an oyster farming community and their lifestyle, this documentary is the opportunity to preserve their stories and farming processes for current and future generations to learn about the sustainability of shellfish aquaculture and how it has helped shape the west coast," the DVD description reads.
Following the screening, four "old-timer" oystermen will hold a discussion around oyster farming in the bay including Gustave "Dobby" Wiegardt Jr., Peter Heckes, Jim Kemmer, and Giro Nakagawa.
Born in 1931, Gustave "Dobby" Wiegardt Jr. grew up as the 3rd generation in the family oyster business. His grandfather, Heinrich Wiegardt, was one of the original pioneer oystermen to settle on the Willapa Bay. He bought his first oyster beds in Bruceport in 1870 and later started the Wiegardt family oyster business in 1874. Now in the 5th generation, the Wiegardt family is the longest uninterrupted oyster business not only in Willapa Bay, but possibly in the entire United States. Dobby grew up in the business and ran the Jolly Roger processing plant, where he managed the cannery and crew, packaging and labeling.
Pete Heckes was born in 1936 and is a 2nd generation oystermen. Heckes has been going out on the oyster beds with his father, Glen Heckes ever since he was a kid. He farms oysters with the Julia C. Waring, built in 1944, one of the last wooden boats on the bay. Heckes works out of Nahcotta, and nearly 99.8% of his oyster farm still relies on a natural set.
Having also grown up on the oyster beds, Jim Kemmer, born in 1941, is a 2nd generation oysterman. As a young teenager by the age of 13, Jim was running boats and working out on the beds. His father Roy and Pete Heckes' father Glen, along with one other partner, Ted Holway, started the original Oysterville cannery in 1939, the Northern Oyster Company.
Born in 1921, Giro Nakagawa started working in the oysters for the New Washington Oyster Company as a teenager in 1939. He is one of the last oystermen still around that can tell the tale of living in an oyster station house. At one time there were many of these houses built on pilings out in the middle of the Willapa Bay, each surrounded by the various oyster companies' oyster beds. Nakagawa has continued to work in the industry ever since, and is still invested in Bay Center Mariculture, which bought out New Washington in the 1980s.
The event will take place Saturday, September 20 from 4-6 pm at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, 115 Lake Street, Illwaco.