5th woodbridge shuck shellfish festival
declared "a great success!"
The Woodbridge Shuck Shellfish Festival which took place took place from 29th September and 2nd October across Woodbridge has been declared a great success.
This four-day foodie event, a fringe of the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, kicked off with a Pub Trawl, new for 2016, with several pubs around the town serving up taster style dishes for the festival period. A good number of the cafes, pubs and eateries offered a selection of Shuck Specials and sponsors Adnams, held a four-day wine tasting event in their Woodbridge store.
Award winning Harry Simper, although affected by the weather, managed to haul in a decent catch to ensure that everyone was able to enjoy the freshest of Simpers Silver Harvest produce, including fresh oysters at the Festival Launch, served up alongside Frerejean Freres Champagne.
The Shuck Weekender took place in the grounds of The Tea Hut, where visitors tucked into a selection of fresh fish and seafood dishes, as well as non-fishy alternatives, catered for and served up by local chefs while enjoying the free music. Jim Radford, the youngest known participant in the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944, played a set on Sunday and turned 89 during the Festival.
In a demonstration of ‘bulldog spirit’, organisers were amused and heartened that the communal outside eating experience continued for some in heavy downpours, under umbrellas on Saturday, before the showers lifted.
Many families joined in with the children’s entertainment on offer, such as the Splat Messy Play, Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Circus Petite stalls. Local Woodbridge residents got an opportunity to hear about the plans for the new East of England Co-op store in their sponsor tent, as well as sample some Sourced Locally produce. This year’s Shuck Shack two-night pop-up restaurant in The Tide Mill was a sell-out and Sunday evening closed the event with another successful Safari Supper, where diners enjoyed three courses in three venues. For night owls and party goers, The Anchor hosted a special Shuck Festival version of the popular Psychedelic Shack; featuring psychedelic soul, funk, space disco and cosmic house, mixed on vinyl by DJ Ben Osborne.
Local business owner and one of two founders, Jonathan Simper, said of this year’s Festival “As my father said at the launch, the Shuck Shellfish Festival was born out of a casual conversation with Stephen David, who at that time was at The Crown. We have now hit five years of running this event, with increasing support from sponsors, the addition of more events throughout the festival and with great engagement from residents and visitors. We look forward to next year and the opportunities it may bring to grow further and continue in our quest to celebrate local produce.”
Stephen David of Somerleyton Estate, also Founder of the Festival, added, “This has been a successful Festival. It was great for so many pubs and restaurants to take part, The Shuck Weekender had good footfall and the Supper and Shuck Shack were really popular again. The Festival is growing although we want to maintain that local, community fete type feel but with lots going on across different venues too. Planning for 2017 will give us an opportunity to reflect and share new ideas for next year. Thanks go to all Shuck partners and supporters.”
The Woodbridge Shuck Shellfish Festival is an official Fringe Event of the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival.
Gotelee, Infotex, Adnams, Frerejean Freres, The Tea Hut, The Bridge, The Crown at Woodbridge, East of England Co-Op all sponsored this event. The Tide Mill, Choose Woodbridge, Woodbridge Town Council all fully supported it and Suffolk Coastal District Council awarded a grant under the Sustaining Towns and Village Economies programme. The Shuck Shellfish Festival continues to support The Fisherman’s Mission.