1. ITV Report

Stranraer’s first oyster festival attracts over 10,000 visitors

Hardeep Singh Kohli, sharing Oyster pakora samples Photo: Stranraer Oyster Festival

Stranraer's first oyster festival attracted over 10,000 visitors at the weekend.

Organisers say the event was a 'massive success that exceeded all expectations'.

Stranraer Oyster Festival saw a number of performances, demonstrations and events over three days.

This included a giant seafood paella made by John Henry of Henrys Bay House Restaurant.

In total, 3,000 oysters were consumed over the weekend.

Many were tasted by people who had never eaten them before, including local children.

Market stall holders at the event are said to have completely sold out of goods.

Accommodations are also believed to have been fully booked within 20 miles of Stranraer.

Oysters harvested from Loch Ryan Credit: Stranraer Oyster Festival

The festival organiser said:

The Festival was incredible and it shows just what can be achieved when our community works together. I heard a comment by a visitor that this was the weekend when Stranraer fell back in love with the sea.

Our beautiful town has always had an affinity with Loch Ryan and with the sea, but when the ferries left town our connection with the water went with it. We lost a bit of our identity, but our first Oyster Festival has given us that back.

We may no longer be a ferry town, instead we are now a destination to visit rather than a place to travel through. Our oysters have helped us to craft a new identity for our town.

– Romano Petrucci, Chairman, Stranraer Development Trust
Many oysters were tasted by people who had never eaten them before Credit: Stranraer Oyster Festival

Romano Petrucci added:

Stranraer will quickly become known as a tourism and food destination, somewhere to visit for incredible seafood, warm hospitality and stunningly beautiful vistas.

Feedback from local businesses is overwhelmingly positive, with increased sales across the board and many businesses reporting record breaking sales.

We are inspired and excited by the potential of Stranraer Oyster Festival and we have already come up with a host of ideas for how to make it bigger, better and more delicious next year.”

– Romano Petrucci, Chairman, Stranraer Development Trust

Stranraer Oyster Festival was organised to celebrate the seafood heritage of the area.

The festival also hosted the Scottish Oyster Shucking Championship in partnership with Seafood Scotland.

The competition saw Tristan Hugh-Jones of Loch Ryan Oysters win the title.

He will represent Scotland in the World Oyster Opening Championship in Galway this weekend.

Tristan Hugh-Jones at he Scottish Oyster Shucking Championships Credit: Stranraer Oyster Festival

The Scottish Oyster Shucking Champion said:

The festival was an overwhelming success and the team are completely exhausted by shucking thousands of oysters over the weekend.

We were thrilled to be able to share our passion for Loch Ryan oysters with local people, and Rob and John of the Vital Spark loved introducing children to the creatures that can be found on the floor of Loch Ryan.

I’m delighted to have won the Scottish Championship amongst such tough competition.

I’ve always wanted to compete in the Galway World Championship, and I couldn’t be prouder to be representing Scotland at this major event.”

– Tristan Hugh-Jones, Loch Ryan Oysters