Clarenbridge Oyster Festival still going strong 55 years on

The first Oyster Festival was in 1954 with just 34 people in attendance, and since such humble beginnings the Clarenbridge Oyster Festival has hosted many national and international visitors and contributed enormously to the development of the tourist trade in the region. September 1 is the start of the oyster season and opens with oyster lovers heading for Clarenbridge which is now officially recognised as the ‘Home of the Oyster’.

This year the festival introduces a creative new structure which guarantees a great weekend of entertainment and fine food while maintaining the quality standards synonymous with the festival. The traditional market day opens the festival at noon on Saturday September 5. The Fine Wine and Gourmet Food evening has been a total sell-out for the past five years and this year is no exception. This year’s event takes place in Paddy Burke’s on Monday September 7.

The official opening of the main festival weekend commences on Friday September 11 with the traditional Big Band Night with Mike Denver in the festival marquee.

The 2009 Classic Oyster Gala Celebration, the main Saturday event running from 4.30pm to 12.30am, includes a spectacular entertainment line up featuring Da Dearga, The Whiskey River Band, The Keaney Dance Act, oyster eating, and Sean Nos dancing competitions and finishing off the eight hour extravaganza with the most unique Beatles tribute in the world, The Classic Beatles.

In between the music, entertainment, and celebrations, sample and savour the native Clarenbridge oysters. Throughout the day there will be unlimited access to a varied menu which includes seafood chowder, a selection of breads, salads, seafood buffet, a savoury hot plate, and tea and coffee. Admission for this event is by pre-purchased tickets only.

To complete the festivities, the Sunday Jamboree will be run in friendship with the Alan Kerins African Projects. Children from the local school community will have the opportunity to display their art interpretation for this year’s theme of ‘The Global Village’. This day will include a children’s disco followed by music from Jive Buddies. With fancy dress and art competitions, celebrity guests, and a celebrity oyster opening competition, this day will not disappoint. A number of novelty events have been added to the line-up with a ‘Townland Tug-of-War’ creating quite an enthusiastic stir among locals. To cater for all, a full carvery lunch offering a wide selection of freshly prepared food and a children’s menu will also be available on the day.

The Clarenbridge Oyster Festival organisers are delighted to announce that GALWAYnow magazine will be the 2009 sponsor of the Best Dressed Lady competition on Saturday September 12. The West of Ireland's best fashion and lifestyle magazine is sponsoring a massive prize combination to the value of €3,000 for the Most Stylish Lady on the day.

With the fashion and style stakes raised by champion proportions, it will be a difficult task for the judging panel, renowned Irish designers and GALWAYnow special guests on the day, Tyrell & Brennan. With a long list of celebs and TV personalities having a soft spot for the likeable duo’s designs, and their quintessentially feminine and fresh gowns gracing red carpets from Dublin to Hollywood, Tyrrell & Brennan has become one of the country’s most sought-after designers.

Following the success of the Clarenbridge Oyster Festival in previous years, this year's event promises to be a truly magnificent and glamorous occasion with spectacular oysters, pageantry, and entertainment included. Without a doubt the Clarenbridge Oyster Festival is one of the most important dates in the Galway festival calendar and with this wonderful prize one not to be missed.

For further details contact (091 ) 796766 or visit www.claren bridge.com.

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