Falmouth has yet again celebrated the start of its unique oyster fishery season with enormous gusto. In it’s 21st year, Falmouth Oyster Festival packed in the crowds with visitor numbers exceeding 45,000, and an estimated 20,000 oysters enjoyed 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 poetry and Dale McIntosh, from Gylly Beach Café who shared his culinary skills with a captivated crowd, whilst cooking for discerning food critics from Falmouth’s five primary schools who sat at the Chefs Table.
A packed programme each day of talented chefs demonstrating their gastronomic flair and a wide range of music from soul to 70s disco entertained the crowds. 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 Seafood Bar alongside Les Angell and his team on the Oyster Bar.
The local school Grand Oyster Parade was a mass of sound and colour; Arty Williams reclaimed the Hot Chef Challenge; the sought after oyster shucking champion title went to Chris Ranger, the large Working Boat Harbour Race was won by John Peters in Rita, Patrick Selman in Moon came second and Norman Bowers in Rebecca 3rd. In first place for the small Working Boat Race was Paul Ferris in Lottie, 2nd Simon Berryman in Zilpha and Charlie Pridmore came 3rd in Mary Ann. The winner of the oyster-dredging boat race was Chris Ranger in Alf Smithers.
The evening entertainment proved to be extremely popular and this year the three charities supported by the festival, Fishermen’s Mission, Children’s Hospice South West and Shelter Box, supported by fundraiser extraordinaire Betty Stoggs benefited from over £2,500.
Festival Director Mike Rangecroft said, “Once again the public, locals and visitors have thronged to this year’s festival in their thousands. A big thank you to everyone who supports the festival that still remains the highlight of the Westcountry’s autumn programme of events”.
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.
The 2018 festival will take place from Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th October 2018.