Stranraer Oyster Festival a 'phenomenal success'
This year's Stranraer Oyster Festival has been hailed a 'phenomenal success' by organisers.
Attendance at the event was up 25% on last year, with around 17-18,000 people thought to have attended the three-day event.
The community-run festival is organised by the Stranraer Development Trust and takes place next to Loch Ryan, which contains Scotland's last remaining wild, native oyster fishery.
Highlights at the event included the Scottish Oyster Shucking Championships, sold out events from chef Tony Singh and an Extreme Pond Dipping event.
Celebrity chef Tony Singh delighted the crowds at Stranraer Oyster Festival with his passion for great food, his humour and his stories. Tony’s events were complete sell-outs and he spent time enjoying the festival atmosphere with friends Massimo and Douglas Lisi.
Tristan Hugh-Jones, of Loch Ryan Oysters, shucked his way back to the top spot at this year’s Scottish Oyster Shucking Championships. Tristan, who won the title in its first year in 2017, will now represent Scotland at the World Oyster Opening Championships in Galway later this month. Organised by Seafood Scotland and hosted by world Guinness record holder, Patrick McMurray, 16 of Scotland’s finest shuckers competed against each other and the clock to win the title.
Chairman of Stranraer Development Trust Romano Petrucci said:
"Without a shadow of a doubt this year’s festival was bigger and better in every way. It was a phenomenal success and we are overwhelmed by the positive comments from visitors, traders and local folk alike.
"Our wee oyster festival has truly come of age. It is amazing to think that in just four years we have taken Stranraer Oyster Festival from a quirky idea to now establishing it as one of the south of Scotland’s biggest events. And by doing so, establishing Stranraer as a vibrant destination for people to visit.
"This was an important year for us. We introduced entry fees for the first time to help ensure the festival would be sustainable and successful for many years to come, and we are delighted that local people and visitors were so supportive of that. This move was such a success that next year’s festival is now guaranteed, and we are pleased to announce that Stranraer Oyster Festival 2020 will take place from Friday 11 to Sunday 13 September.
"The expansion of the Friday evening entertainment till midnight turned the festival into a whole-weekend experience, and the introduction of water-based activities for young people in the harbour added real depth to the programme.
"We are deeply grateful for the generous support of local businesses and the energy and enthusiasm of our volunteers who made the festival site so welcoming. It shows what Stranraer can do when we all pull together as a community.
"We are now starting the planning for our 2020 festival in earnest to help celebrate Scotland’s Year of Coast and Water 2020, and we are looking forward to once again putting Stranraer on the tourism map and showing just what our toon is capable of."