A world of entertainment in Whitstable is your oyster for the next week, with the return of the town’s best-loved summer festival. Jo Roberts reports.
Whether or not you eat them, oysters are still worth celebrating in Kent’s most sought-after seaside town this week, trust us!
A Venetian carnival and a new emphasis on music are among the exciting new additions to Whitstable Oyster Festival’s 2014 programme.
Singers Finley Quaye, Ben Mills and Noel McCalla are on the musical line-up along with a new buskers’ stage for this year, and TV funnyman Sean Lock is headlining a comedy gala.
Meanwhile, the children will take centre stage at a bulging programme of free competitions, workshops and themed fun beside the seaside, which kicks off with their traditional opening parade through the town on Saturday, July 26, leaving the harbour at 3pm.
The mighty oyster – of which the town is renowned for producing its own Native variety – will enjoy its annual moments of glory with the ceremonial landing of the oysters at Long Beach at 2.15pm on Saturday, and at the hotly contested oyster-eating competition on Sunday, July 27 at the harbour at 3pm.
Cuisine will be king throughout this weekend’s Harbour Food Fair, while ale reigns supreme at the East Quay Beer Festival.
When the seven-day celebration ends on Friday, August, 1 it will be to the fanfare of a Venetian carnival on the seafront, a brand new fancy-dress addition. The last word will be the firework finale at the seafront at 9.45pm.
Organisers say: “For seven full days, Whitstable will come alive with things to do, see, taste and enjoy, offering the perfect day trip for locals or an exciting trip for those from further afield packed with activities to keep even the most energetic families entertained.”
For the full listings of events through the week, visit www.whitstable oysterfestival.co.uk
OYSTER FESTIVAL IN BRIEF
New activities for 2014 including the week-long Music Trail through Whitstable’s venues and bars, presenting live acts every night.
OUR TOP FESTIVAL TIPS INCLUDE
City Funk Orchestra featuring vocalist Noel McCalla delivering soul and R&B anthems at the Duke of Cumberland pub on Saturday, July 26. Tickets £5 from the venue. Call 01227 280617.
Ben Mills with his band Benzego and supporting act the Cuban Brothers play a free gig outdoor at the Harbour Stage in Whitstable Harbour from 4.30pm to 8pm on Sunday, July 27.
Reggae Rocks features Brit Award-winning Finley Quaye, singer of 1997 hits Sunday Shining and Even After All, at the Duke of Cumberland again on Wednesday, July 30 from 7pm. Tickets cost £12 from the venue or visit www.whitstable oysterfestival.co.uk
The Comedy Gala featuring Sean Lock at the Duke of Cumberland pub on Thursday, July 31, has now sold out.