Falmouth has yet again celebrated the start of its unique oyster fishery season with enormous gusto and organisers are declaring it was a huge success.
The 20th Falmouth Oyster Festival packed in the crowds with visitor numbers exceeding 40,000, an estimated 25,000 oysters consumed and over 1000 bottles of sparkling wine and Champagne 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 Chris Eden, who shared his Michelin starred 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 folk to jump jive 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; Nick Hodges reclaimed the Hot Chef Challenge; the sought after oyster shucking champion title went to Chris Kinder, the large Working Boat Harbour Race was won by the Carter Boys in Nellie May; the small Working Boat Race by Adam Bird in Leila and winners of the oyster dredging boat race, were dredgers Alf Smithers and Mystery.
The evening entertainment proved to be extremely popular and Saturday night’s birthday bash was celebrated with a turn out of 800 people. 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. It is particularly pleasing that in our 20th year we get such amazing support and the festival 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.
Next year the Falmouth Oyster Festival will take place from Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th October 2017.