Anthony's Restaurants is canceling this year's Oyster Games, an annual event that has raised nearly $500,000 over the past 18 years for...

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Anthony’s Restaurants is canceling this year’s Oyster Games, an annual event that has raised nearly $500,000 over the past 18 years for Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, a nonprofit group that strives to enhance local water quality.

The Northwest restaurant chain announced Thursday it will take a hiatus on the event, formerly known as the Oyster Olympics, which brought shellfish growers, elected officials, celebrities and oyster fans together in Seattle to shuck, slurp and otherwise celebrate the bivalves.

Anthony’s spokeswoman Lane Hoss was unavailable for additional comment.

For Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, the cancellation will leave a roughly $40,000 hole, about one tenth of its annual budget, said manager Margy Wallace. The group, which aims to protect and preserve the Sound through tracking and stopping the discharge of toxic pollutants, hopes to drum up more interest in its annual October Salute to the Sound festival in response and may launch a new oyster event in May.

“We’re scrambling to come up with other fund-raising kind of events to fill that hole. They just said they were taking a hiatus and they will make a decision whether or not to come back,” said Wallace, who added how much the Alliance appreciates Anthony’s longtime support. “It’s an amazing thing they’ve done for us.”

Karen Gaudette: 206-515-5618 or kgaudette@seattletimes.com