Whitstable is not just a lovely little seaside town in Kent, UK, but something more than that. Whitstable is fondly remembered for the massive oyster haul the fishermen pull in each day. This is then exported to places far and wide and the income thus contributes hugely to the economy of the country. Every year in July, the people of the town celebrate the richness of their oyster catch by conducting the Whitstable Oyster Festival. Now the festival is so famous that tourists from all over the world join in and participate wholeheartedly. The spirit of brotherhood spills the cup and everybody enjoys them with a kind of fervor.
The whole town center is decked with glitz and glamour; it looks like a bride-to-be. Revel in the magic of the arrangements and feel heady with all the music and the shopping you are going to do. The main part of the festival will be held at Whitstable Harbour and you can enjoy a scintillating view of the beach and the tranquil sea while you are marvel at the shops and their wares.
The Whitstable Oyster Festival transforms the otherwise sleepy town and the vibrant colours and lively decorations will warm and cheer your heart. The festival is a 7-day event and will be held during the last few days in July. You can expect this year’s festival to be the held between 21st – 27th July 2012. The ceremony usually starts at the church where the clergy will bless the town, the farmers, the local people and anybody who wants to receive his blessings. This church ceremony is then followed by fireworks, exhibitions at numerous stalls, attractive displays on shop front and of course, thousands and thousands of fresh oysters. There will be a huge oyster haul from the Long Beach by the Whitstable Sea Scouts on the day of the festival, the first catch of that particular season. The haul will be paraded through the streets once they are blessed by the church. The parade starts from High Street and is attended by all townsfolk.
Music shows, family events and fancy dress competitions add more colour and vibrancy to the total event. If you love eating lots of oysters and that too at a rapid rate you can participate in the oyster eating competition. However, only people over the age of 18 will be able to take part in it. The rule of the game is this – if you are able to eat six oysters faster than anybody else in the game, you are a winner. If you can make a record of eating oysters, then go ahead.
The selection of food stalls are all appetizingly arranged with the best delicacies to pamper your taste buds and at the same time keep your stomach happy. Since there are lots of food and drink you will not feel the dearth of anything. The authorities are strictly vigilant at all times and they will ensure that you have a gala time throughout the festival days.
Try the most well known of the oyster bars Wheelers Oyster Bar, 8 High Street. A Whitstable institution, Wheelers has been run by the same family since 1856, using only the freshest, finest fish picked daily from the harbour. There are cockles, whelks and eels, as well as wonderful devilled whitebait.
The oysters are as perfect as you’d expect, and while the dishes might be simple, the cooking is assured and confident, making the very best of such excellent ingredients. It’s not licensed, so do feel free to bring your own alcoholic drinks.
The Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company, down the beach, is also well worth a visit.
When you visit Whitstable for the next oyster festival you will know that the nickname “Pearl of Kent” fits the town like a second skin. The festival will take you through a different world of fantasy and magic that you will be returning for the next round the following year. The buzz has already begun for this year’s festival – so make sure you are part of it. There are many Whitstable self catering holiday apartments and holiday homes dotted around Whitstable to rent, if you want to really abandon yourself in a fun-filled vacation and spend some quality time there.