The inaugural Stranraer Oyster festival was a huge success. Held in mid September people came from far and wide and it is reported to have bought in £500,00 to the local economy.
An estimated 10,000 visitors came for the three day festival, which promoted the natural produce of the area and in particular our own unique Loch Ryan native oysters.
This major new event, was designed to appeal to all ages, and was devised to celebrate Scotland’s only native oyster bed in Loch Ryan. While our delicious, wild oysters are carefully harvested by our Loch Ryan Fisheries Co. Ltd. then sent from our shores to be enjoyed in many parts the world, until now the Stranraer connection has not been widely recognised. All this has now changed with the launch of this year’s spectacular Oyster Festival that brought recognition to our oysters and to the town and the surrounding area.
Stranraer Oyster Festival 2017 featured not only oysters but also all sorts of seafood – all caught locally. A fantastic programme of excellent cookery classes and demos, staged by many superb local chefs proved very popular during the festival weekend. Celebrities, Hardeep Singh Kohli for one also contributed to the event’s success. Food wasn’t just for cooking! Visitors were able to taste and to buy a wide range of delicious locally produced food and award-winning drink. Hand made arts and crafts also featured with many of our local traders setting up stalls in our specially created Festival Market with its busy café. Children were spoiled for choice with CBeebies Mr Bloom topping the bill while ‘Extreme Pond Dipping’ bringing the gelatinous creatures of the deep into sharp focus also thrilled those who took part. A full outreach programme of workshops and other creative initiatives drew in many local children and youngsters whose engagement with the festival proved one of the event’s most rewarding aspects. Many volunteers also contributed hugely to the event’s success.
The chairman of Stranraer Development Trust (SDT) added: "Over the weekend of 15 to 17 September, Stranraer unquestionably re-engaged with the loch in a manner that had not been seen since the last ferry sailed out of the port six years previously.
"We're looking to the future now with our sights most definitely set on establishing a future date for our next festival." The Trust has also announced the Festival has been selected as a finalist in the "Community Project of the Year" category of the 2017 Dumfries & Galloway Life Awards.