FALMOUTH OYSTER FESTIVAL 2012
For centuries Cornish families have dredged the beds of wild native oysters once planted by the Romans. The tales of sail and hand punt* live on as the maritime town of Falmouth celebrates the start of the season with the annual Oyster Festival from 11-14 October with highlights including: television presenter Monty Halls, comedian Johnny Cowling and free oyster tasting at the Opening Bash.
Now in its 16th year, the south coast festival casts a flavoursome programme of food, a range of music acts including the sounds of the Sea Shanty, Jazz, Folk and Soul over four days in the vibrant port.
At the heart of the festival lies the rich history and heritage of the oyster fishermen who, for decades, have derived their livelihood from this traditional trade. Prohibited from using engines in order to preserve the natural ecology of the riverbed, Falmouth is now the only oyster fishery in Europe where original methods are still used. Here, molluscs are still gathered by hand, graded to perfection by eye, purified in an approved environment, and personally packed by the passionate crew before being ‘shucked'** and sampled all over the world.
Many of the oyster boats - the Falmouth Working Boats - were built at boatyards around the Fal. Dating back as far as 1860, these impressive vessels provide a fitting backdrop for the event.
Opening on Wednesday 10 October with a Gourmet Night at St Michael's Hotel and Spa, the festival marquee on Events Square hosts the four days which starts with a Grand Opening Bash, cookery demonstrations, live music from The Tinners and an evening in aid of Precious Lives Appeal with renowned Cornish Comedian, Johnny Cowling. Whilst over 13-14 October, The Moor hosts a weekend of acoustic music and local produce.
After a Joseph Perrier oyster shucking competition, from Cadgwith Cove, ‘The Fisherman's Apprentice' Monty Halls whets the appetite on Saturday 13th October with an entertaining evening packed with tantalising tales of travels, experiences and adventures.
Monty Halls says, "I'm very excited to be part of this year's Falmouth Oyster Festival. It's a great chance to visit Cornwall again and find out more about the fascinating history of the oyster fishery."
The festival winds-up on Sunday 14 October with a Falmouth Working Boat Race, a prize giving, and live music from The Cornish Wurzells and Shanty singing..
**Shucked - removing the oyster shell