Today (23rd of July) marks the start of the 31st annual Whitstable Oyster Festival!
Running since 1985, it’s a bright, sunny, and energetic revival of an ancient Norman holy festival and has become a core part of the Whitstable cultural tradition.
For 10 days every year Whitstable is alive with live music, food-eating, beer-drinking, comedy, beach-side screenings, children’s activities, recitals, oyster eating competitions and spectacular fireworks.
History of the Oyster Festival
Originally, local fisherman and dredgers would hold annual ceremonies of thanksgiving to celebrate the success of the harvest. Or failing that, they’d celebrate their survival at sea. Silver linings and all that.
It was deliberately held during the slack period of Oyster harvesting so their hangovers wouldn’t get in the way of their livelihood and that’s why, to this day, you won’t find too many native Whitstable oysters at the Oyster Festival.
Today, the celebration recreates the ‘Landing of the Oysters’ when the local Sea Scouts would land the oysters, receive a formal blessing and be presented to the Lord Mayor. The oysters (now fully blessed) are then brought to the town’s inns, bars and restaurants.
Following that, Whitstable is transformed into a festival town for a week.
What to expect
This year, there’s more going on than ever and for the first time, the festival is officially associated with the Whitstable Brewery meaning it’ll be local ales and lagers fueling the celebrations.
At the Pearson’s Arms, we will have live music throughout the week and will make sure we do our bit to make this the best Oyster Festival yet.
For more information, go to www.whitstableoysterfestival.co.uk
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