Scotland’s Oyster Festival
BIGGER, BETTER AND EVEN MORE DELICIOUS!
Our celebration of Scotland’s wild, native oysters is back for its third year and our programme is guaranteed to be bursting with fun, festivities and flavour! Marking the start of the native oyster harvesting season, Stranraer Development Trust is bringing top chefs, inspiring speakers, amazing entertainers and some of the world’s leading oyster experts together for Stranraer Oyster Festival, a seafood celebration on the shores of Loch Ryan.
Nestling under the sparkling waters of Loch Ryan is one of the last wild, native oyster beds in Scotland, fished sustainably by Loch Ryan Oyster Fishery Co. Ltd. The area’s unique seafood heritage, the local cuisine, the stunning scenery and the vision of the Stranraer business community, collectively inspired the first oyster festival held in Stranraer in September 2017.
We wanted to devise a festival that involved and inspired our whole town, while creating a late summer tourism highlight to attract and welcome visitors to Stranraer. Food tourism is one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the UK and our stunning coastal location, combined with our bountiful local seafood, inspiring chefs and of course our native oysters, meant a seafood festival was the natural choice.
Stranraer is dramatically situated on the sweeping shoreline at the head of Loch Ryan. There could be no more perfect backdrop to an oyster festival than the beautiful view from the festival’s harbour location with its popular marina and then out across the loch to distant Ailsa Craig, and beyond to the Irish Sea.
The first Stranraer Oyster Festival in 2017 was a phenomenal success. More than 10,000 visitors enjoyed our packed programme which featured a host of foodie events, performances and workshops. Celebrity chef demos, competitions, a plethora of children’s and youth projects that took place before during and after festival weekend, live music and a bustling festival market crammed with traders, some selling their excellent locally produced food and drink, others their stylish arts and craftwork resulting in a truly terrific weekend.
In 2018, we expanded and delivered a rich and varied programme enjoyed by 14,000 visitors over the 3 day event. Highlights include entertaining fishing demonstrations from celebrity chef Nick Nairn, the hilarious first ever Stranraer Oyster Eating competition, plenty of free activities for the kids, and the introduction of a Seafood Celebration Marquee packed full of live music, tasty dishes provided by local chefs and thousands of fresh Loch Ryan Oysters. 125 local businesses engaged, 90 youths dedicated their time and energy to volunteer and over £1M was generated for the local economy.
Stranraer Oyster Festival also hosts the Scottish Oyster Shucking Championship competition, which attracts chefs from all over Scotland to compete against the clock to be the fastest oyster shucker in the country! Sponsored by Seafood Scotland, this is an energetic, risky and hilarious competition not to be missed.
There’s so much to see, do and enjoy at Stranraer Oyster Festival, we hope you will join us in 2019!