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There’s something fishy going on at the Newlyn Fish Festival

Newlyn Fish Festival is a great time to visit the old port of Newlyn, on the outskirts of Penzance. Learn about the local fishing industry, attend a fish auction or cookery demonstration, hear fishy tales and win a prize for completing the Fish Trail!
Newlyn is synonymous with fishing, so it makes the obvious destination for a magnificent Fish Festival. Held on the late summer Bank Holiday Monday in August, it combines fun, food and fish. Well actually, there’s a whole lot more besides including live music on Busker’s Corner, a Lugger Championship and a Fishy Trail, so read on!

Newlyn Harbour

The port of Newlyn is one of Cornwall’s most distinctive and individual working fishing ports. Unlike and , where the fishing fleet has almost died, Newlyn Harbour still has plenty of fishing boats tied up alongside. Piles of nets and stacks of crates create the atmosphere of bustling business in this delightful town.

Outdoor attractions include a selection of boats to look out along the pier including the beam trawler Sapphire and the Cornish Fisheries Protection Vessel the St Piran.

The Camborne Pondhoppers will have a display of model boats in the water and you can enjoy a boating session with the Penzance Sea Cadets. There’s gig-racing, RNLI lifeboat demonstrations and jet skis for hire along with some exciting Lugger Rowing Races.

Fish auctions & fishy tales at Newlyn Fish Festival

The Newlyn Fish Festival began in 1990, so 2014 sees its 25th anniversary. It was the brainchild of Len Scott whose main purpose in hosting the first fish festival was to raise awareness, and some much-needed funds, for the . This important charity provides welfare and meals to seamen. In particular, it supports retired fishermen in need, their widows and families, and sick and injured fishermen, particularly after a tragedy at sea.

Highlights of the Newlyn Fish Festival include a series of live cookery demonstrations which are held in the huge Fish Market. The event attracts some top names when it comes to chefs, such as Michelin-star accredited Ben Tunnicliffe, from his two-Michelin star restaurants in Rock, chef/entrepreneur , and some ambitious students from Newlyn School and Penwith College.

Once the cookery demonstrations are over, you can bid for your supper at one of the fish auctions which are ruled by the speedy verbiage and smart hammer of auctioneer Edward Buckland. There’s something to see all day long from 10:30am to 4:15pm, including watching the contestants competing for Cornish Fishmonger of the Year.

One of the things I find fascinating is the Fish Display – who could imagine there were so many different varieties and sizes of ugly-looking fish in our Atlantic waters?

The display is presided over by Sue and Duncan Lucas. Duncan worked as a Seafood Specialist for Young’s for 9 years and is considered the mostly highly skilled fishmonger in the UK. He even holds the Guinness World Record for filleting halibut! It’s a great opportunity to ask questions and learn something new about fish cuisine.

A popular workshop nearby features how to handle, prepare and cook a lobster courtesy of Dan the Fisherman.

Fishy tales and fishy trails

Youngsters may prefer the Fishy Tales Tent where you are invited to peer into the net of storyteller Mary Williams Pier. She is a truly gripping storyteller and will have you entranced with tales of mermaids, fishermen, pirates and of course Sharky the shark!

Her stories are complemented by similar fishy stories and puppet presentations from . The Sea Show performances start at 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm. You’re not done yet, as there’s also a fishy-themed workshop for kids.

Even adults will want to sneak a copy of the Fishy Trail Sheet. Once you have found all the clues in the fish market, youngsters can pick a prize from the Newlyn School stall.

When you’re finally fished out, there’s plenty of live music, food and stalls around Festival Square to complete the perfect day.

What image does the word “Newlyn” conjure up for you? Is it fishing boats, lobster pots and fish and chips or something more unusual? We’d love to hear from Newlyn residents and visitors alike!

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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