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Aw shucks – It’s the Falmouth Oyster Festival!

The start of the oyster dredging season brings with it the Falmouth Oyster Festival which really is a weekend of festivities to celebrate what will hopefully be a highly profitable few months for the oyster fishermen.
The second weekend in October sees the popular summer seaside resort of Falmouth hosting the famous Falmouth Oyster Festival. This event is not only a firm favourite with ‘foodies’ but also one that celebrates a dying tradition which makes Falmouth unique in a very special way.

With food festivals of one description or another popping up all over the country on a regular basis, the Falmouth Oyster Festival stands out as being particularly relevant to the area. As well as oyster and seafood bars, the festival includes a Cornish Produce and Craft Marquee, ale and wine bars, cookery demos, live music and children’s activities such as oyster shell painting.

Let the Oyster Dredging Season commence

Oyster dredging has been an occupation for many families in this area for over a century. In Falmouth only hand-pulled or sail-powered dredgers are allowed to be used. The local law which dictates this is thought to make Falmouth unique and the Falmouth Oyster Festival actually celebrates the beginning of the oyster dredging season which runs from October until March.

Anyone who attends the festival will not only be able to sample some of the most prized oysters in the world but also learn more about the history of the area.

The Falmouth Oyster Festival usually takes place on the second weekend in October and always kicks off on the Wednesday evening prior to the event with a celebration of what is to follow over the next few days. One of the highlights is the Schools Town Oyster Parade on the Friday afternoon which goes from The Moor to the Maritime Museum.

Another treat to look out for is the Falmouth Working Boats Race from the Inner Harbour on Sunday morning with Shanty Singing before the festival officially winds down for another year.

Pick up a bargain at the Falmouth Oyster Festival

The Falmouth Oyster Festival has become something of a mecca for local food and drink producers who all have stalls around the market square and in the main marquee. This allows festival-goers to take advantage of lots of free tastes and samples as well as stocking up with gifts for Christmas which is now just around the corner.

The history of the oyster dredging industry is always in evidence throughout the festival. One of the most popular events is the fishermen’s choirs. Their harmonious singing, often unaccompanied, will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Add the jovial Falmouth atmosphere and you may quickly find yourself humming along to traditional sea songs whilst savouring a pint of the very best Cornish ale.

Quality is the watchword at the Falmouth Oyster Festival

boasts some of the best seafood restaurants in the UK and the chefs from these establishments are always out in force with cooking demonstrations. They bring new ideas to old favourites in terms of cooking local produce, shellfish and seafood.

Such is the reputation of Falmouth Oyster Festival, you will find many upmarket sponsors such as Laurent Perrier in attendance which gives the festival a feeling of exclusivity. It does not necessarily mean that everything is expensive or that it is full of food snobs. This well-regarded Oyster Festival is all about local pride in their culture, history and quality oysters and is definitely a must-do.

Festivals which are held to celebrate the beginning or end of a season in the world of fishing and farming can be traced back hundreds of years.

Can you add some other local seafood festivals to our comments box, especially where locals still join together and welcome visitors to join in the celebrations with them?

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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