Stranraer Oyster Festival Starts Today

Allana Hardie tries one of the first oysters of the season

The second Stranraer Oyster Festival takes place this weekend featuring five thousand oysters, four huge weather-proof marquees, three days of festivities, 2 days of demos by top chefs including Nick Nairn and one winner at the Scottish Oyster Shucking Championship final!

Stranraer Oyster Festival

The launch event, which takes place this evening, will include Scotland’s native oysters being landed by boat and piped ashore, followed by a seafood street-food event and spectacular fireworks display over Loch Ryan.

Chair of Stranraer Development Trust, the group that organises the festival, Romano Petrucci said:

“Our whole town has come together to put on an amazing programme of events, there is so much to see and do, particularly for families and young people, and we can’t wait to welcome people to Stranraer.

“Our amazing native oysters may be the focal point, but our festival is a celebration of everything that is delicious in and around Stranraer, including our local gin distilleries, craft breweries and local food producers and crafters, so you don’t need to like seafood to enjoy it.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said:

“We are delighted to be supporting the Stranraer Oyster Festival for the first time, through our National Events Programme. The Festival team has developed a fantastic programme of events, showcasing the region’s rich heritage, local seafood and home-grown produce. It is also great to see the festival embracing Scotland’s Year of Young People with a variety of activities on offer for young people to enjoy and get involved in.”

Stranraer Oyster Festival is designed around celebrating Scotland’s last remaining wild, native oyster fishery, which lies in Loch Ryan. The native oyster was once widespread around Scotland and much of the UK but has been harvested to near extinction which means almost all other oysters for sale in the UK come from oyster farms.

It was feared the exclusion zone around Ayr Railway Station would hit festival travellers, with no trains currently running to Stranraer. However festival organisers highlighted that the town is still accessible by public transport via bus and ferry, with special day trips from Ireland being organised by Stena Line.

The full programme is on www.stranraeroysterfestival.com .

Summary of Programme Highlights

For Foodies

The Seafood Celebration Marquee, funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the Scottish Government, will celebrate local seafood with a tempting array of seafood street food. Chef demonstrations, including from Nick Nairn, will be taking place throughout the weekend with chefs focussing heavily on creating inspirational seafood themed menus and dishes. The huge Makers Market will include more than twenty artisan food producers selling everything from locally smoked wild salmon to award winning local gin distilled with locally foraged botanicals, alongside a wide selection of locally produced crafts.

For Oyster Fans

The Shuck Off on Saturday is a must see for anyone with an interest in oysters. As well as the thrill of the fast paced competition, spectators will be treated to entertaining demonstrations, information and tastings with expert Shucker Paddy. Tristan Hugh-Jones of Loch Ryan Oyster Fishery, winner of last year’s Shuck Off, will be leading a talk all about oysters, as well as offering oyster and champagne experiences throughout the weekend. For those with a tough stomach and a competitive spirit, there’s also an oyster eating competition.

For Families

Samsam Bubbleman is the headline children’s entertainer but the whole weekend is filled with family fun and children’s activities in recognition of 2018 being Scotland’s Year of Young People. The Children’s Marquee will provide family friendly activities throughout the weekend; from circus skills and storytelling to oyster shell crafts and kite making.

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