Stranraer Oyster Festival 2021, one of Scotland’s biggest food festivals, has announced it will not take place this year due to continuing uncertainty over the impact of Covid-19.
In 2019 the three day community-run festival attracted more than 17,000 people to the shores of Loch Ryan, home of Scotland’s last remaining wild, native oyster fishery. The festival celebrates the town’s native oyster heritage and hosts the Scottish Oyster Shucking Championship, alongside a programme of entertainment and activities.
The 2021 festival had been scheduled for 10th – 12th September, and it was hoped that ongoing easing of Covid restrictions might allow for a major gathering of people in the autumn of this year. However, festival organisers, Stranraer Development Trust, announced this morning that the 2021 event has been cancelled.
Romano Petrucci, Chair of Stranraer Development Trust, said:
“Despite our best intentions, and with the clear knowledge that our community is desperate for a boost and some good news, the Board of Stranraer Development Trust are sorry to announce the cancellation of this year’s Stranraer Oyster Festival.
“We have been working very hard behind the scenes to explore approaches that might allow our festival to return this year. We carried out a very thorough examination of all the possibilities, but circumstances make it impossible for us to guarantee a festival that is safe for our community and safe for our visitors at this time.
“Hosting Stranraer Oyster Festival is a huge undertaking for our community and it involves a great deal of planning in advance. It is of course tempting to be optimistic, and to hope that circumstances in September will be different, but as a community organisation we have a responsibility to put the community first. Postponing making a decision about this year’s festival till July or August simply is not an option.
“We had an incredible headline guest lined up, and that has made this decision all the harder. In that regards, a huge thanks must go to Doug McLean and his team at the Scottish International Airshow, as well as the many, many people the Trust have engaged with these last few months as we attempted to find the reassurances and confidences we needed to make our decision.
“By the time 2022 and the next planned Stranraer Oyster Festival comes around, it will be a staggering and very sobering three years since we last all gathered for such a wonderful weekend celebrating our local oysters. For now, all we can do is apologise for this year’s cancellation and wish each and every one of you a safe, happy and healthy summer.”