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Carnival brings taste of Venice to Whitstable Oyster Festival as week-long event gets under way

A Venetian carnival and buskers' stage are among new attractions at this year's Whistable Oyster Festival - alongside favourites such as the landing of the oysters and the oyster-eating challenge.

Organisers have added the new events to the festival after announcing TV comedian Sean Lock will headline a comedy gala at the Duke of Cumberland pub.

The festival runs from today to Friday, August 1 and is the first to be organised by the Event Umbrella since the company was handed a three-year contract to run it by the council.

Christopher Fleming, David Knight and James Day with a mountain of oysters at the Brewery Bar stall

The carnival, billed as Whitstable#s interpretation of the Carnevale Di Venezia, takes place on the beach by the Horsebridge Centre on Friday, August 1, between 6pm and 10pm as one of the finale events.

Participants will dress in traditional Venetian clothes and masks, with celebrations taking place at the Old Neptune pub.

The buskers stage will be open to any performers on Saturday and Sunday with a passion for music.

It will open at the Harbour Food Fair at the weekend between 10am and 4.30pm.

The Shipwright Shanty Crew at the Whitstable Oyster Festival

Last month, the festival organisers created a buzz when they revealed TV comic Sean Lock would headline a stand-up evening at the Duke of Cumberland pub alongside Dave Johns and Johnny Candon on Thursday, July 31.

The event will take place 24 hours after Brit and Mobo award-winning singer Finley Quaye appears at the High Street pub.

A series of outdoor film screenings will also take place on Tankerton Slopes throughout the week with West Side Story, Blazing Saddles and Finding Nemo all being shown.

The Event Umbrella has organised a park and ride to ferry visitors to the town centre from the Church Street playing fields at the weekend from 7am to 8pm.

A tug-of-war contest at last year's festival

To buy tickets, see the full event programme at www.whitstableoysterfestival.co.uk or on Facebook and Twitter @Whitoysterfest.

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