Falmouth has yet again celebrated the start of its unique oyster fishery season with enormous gusto. The 19th Falmouth Oyster Festival packed in the crowds with over 40,000 visitors and almost 20,000 oysters consumed over the four days.
The event officially opened with the Oyster Man leading a parade of local school children who delighted visitors with their singing and Chris Eden who shared his Michelin starred culinary skills with a captivated crowd.
A packed programme each day of talented chefs demonstrating their gastronomic flair and a wide range of music from folk to jazz entertained record crowd numbers. The local craft and food marquees were buzzing with shoppers, Skinners and South West Bars supplied liquid refreshment and St Michael’s Hotel and Spa hosted the oyster bar.
The local school Grand Oyster Parade was a mass of sound, colour and accomplished stilt walking; not without battle scars the Hot Chef Challenge was won by Arty Williams; the sought after oyster shucking champion title went to Johnny Ball; the large Working Boat Harbour Race was won by John Peters in Rita; the small Working Boat Race by Mike Stratton in Deliverance and winner of the oyster dredging boat race, was Ranger in Alf Smithers.
This year the Oyster Fisherman provided fascinating information about their lives as oystermen and a surprise guest Phil Mitchell from Channel 4’s The Catch talked about his life as a deep-sea fisherman and shared a rare insight into the reality of life at sea.
Festival Director Mike Rangecroft said, “Once again the public have voted with their feet and supported Falmouth’s Oyster Festival. Much of the festival follows a tried and tested recipe but each year we try and improve the layout and add elements to the festival to keep it fresh. The support of partners and sponsors and the goodwill of many is what really makes the event a great success”.
The infamous Falmouth Marine Band and The Oggymen sang out the final afternoon to a wonderful atmosphere now synonymous with this unique and very special event.
Next year the Falmouth Oyster Festival will take place from Thursday 13th – Sunday 16th October 2016.