Over the weekend I attended my favorite festival in England, the Whitstable Oyster Festival. The little town of Whitstable has hosted the annual festival since the 1980’s, after it was revived to bring back the old traditions of Norman times. The annual ceremony is a chance for the townspeople and fisherman to give thanks for their yearly harvest and another year of survival on the sea. (Much like Folkestone’s Blessing of the Fisheries.) Whitstable’s Oyster Festival gets bigger every year, and is beginning to get tremendously popular. This year Prince Charles and Camilla Bowles even stopped by for a day of fun by the seaside.
I have been planning to spend my birthday weekend in Whitstable since I went last year and had an amazing time. It didn’t disappoint me, and was a great way to ring in the big 2-7. The weather was warm and beautiful, Pimm’s was being poured all around, and the food was spectacular. I ate a nice lunch of fried prawn and crab, washed down with cider from a local vineyard in Kent. (I refrained from eating oysters, blech.)
We watched a band called The Trouser Trumpets play, and had a nice time dancing to their up-beat music. The lead singer was dressed as a ship Captain, and I still am not sure if that is his normal get-up or was special for the occasion. I appreciated that they weren’t hawking their latest release on iTunes, but were trying to sell their music to the crowd on vinyl. There were some seriously crazy women going nuts over the band and/or music which was highly entertaining in itself.
This year I got to experience the magic of the oyster eating contest. There is something amazing about watching people stuff their faces with food. Some of the contestants were absolutely incredible, shovelling oysters and beer down their throats at insane speed. I personally was rooting for a Japanese girl who was up against all the local men. I love an underdog. The winner definitely deserved the prize, I have no doubt that he practices his oyster slurping skills on weekends with a stopwatch.
Even though the thought of eating oysters makes me want to vomit, I absolutely love celebrating them! The Whitstable Oyster Festival is always such a blast and I am already looking forward to next year’s festivities.