Thursday 9th – Sunday 12th October 2014 | Events Square, Falmouth
Here in Cornwall we love to celebrate the fantastic local produce available on our doorstep. The food in the region is nearly as famous as our beautiful coast and countryside, and we’re very lucky to have so many brilliant food festivals to help us show this off. One of our favourites has to be the Falmouth Oyster Festival.
The festival celebrates the start of the oyster dredging season and in particular, one of the last remaining traditional oyster fisheries, dredging by sail and hand punt.
For over a century, many Cornish families have derived their livelihood from oyster dredging in the stretch of water around Falmouth known as the Carrick Roads and its surrounding rivers. Lots of the oyster boats, known as Falmouth Working Boats were built at boatyards around the Fal, with some of the oldest boats in the Oyster Fishery dating back as far as 1860! Out of the oyster season these days, many of the working boats are used for racing on the water and make a truly impressive sight! Known as gaff-rigged cutters, they are traditionally made with wood and have distinctively large sails with brightly coloured topsails all with distinct patterns.
We’ll be heading down to Events Square in Falmouth to enjoy a delicious Fal oyster or two, watch the cookery demonstrations from some of our region’s top chefs, trying our hand at shell painting, and listening to our local sea shanty singers perform. If you’d like to visit as well, there are more details of the full line-up at the Falmouth Oyster Festival website.
Did you know?
Governed by ancient laws that were put in place to protect the natural ecology of the riverbeds and oyster stocks, oystermen fishing in the Port of Truro Oyster Fishery are prohibited from using engines. Instead, sail power and hand-pulled dredges must be used. This is the only oyster fishery in Europe, if not the world, where such traditional methods must be used.