Falmouth Oyster Festival opens today, featuring cookery demonstrations by leading chefs. There will be something for all the family with children's shell painting, sea shanties, a town parade, live music, and an oyster shucking competition.
Dick Strawbridge and his son James will break off from filming their latest series of The Hungry Sailors for ITV1 to take part in a cookery challenge, and Cornwall’s sea shanty sensations the Fisherman’s Friends will perform on Saturday night.
The festival has grown in size over the last 16 years and now features a range of Cornish food and drink producers alongside local craft stalls.
At the heart of the festival lies the rich history and heritage of the oyster fishermen who, for decades, have derived their livelihood from this traditional trade. Prohibited from using engines in order to preserve the natural ecology of the riverbed, Falmouth is now the only oyster fishery in Europe where original methods are still used. Here, molluscs are still gathered by hand, graded to perfection by eye, purified in an approved environment, and personally packed by the passionate crew before being 'shucked' and sampled all over the world.
Many of the oyster boats – the Falmouth Working Boats - were built at boatyards around the Falmouth coast. Dating back as far as 1860, these impressive flat bottomed vessels provide a fitting backdrop for the event.