The Galway Oyster Festival marquee is back in town

Oyster opening champion Michael Moran

Oyster opening champion Michael Moran

The 57th Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival, September 23 - 25 2011, will make a welcome return to a marquee this year and will be located at Galway Harbour.

The festival has been acclaimed as “one of the 12 greatest shows on earth” by The Sunday Times, and has attracted over 10,000 international and local attendees each September. This year the programme will be widened to include seafood as well as oysters and there is an exciting line up of events confirmed so far.

Following a seafood dine-around the restaurants of Galway city, the Irish Oyster Opening Championships will headline Friday evening in the Festival Marquee with openers from all over Ireland getting ready to take on the challenge of becoming the Irish Oyster Opening Champion.

This honour is currently held by Michael Moran, who has remained unbeaten for the past three years. Guests will enjoy Galway seafood chowder with a gourmet Seafood platter. Sean Slattery and the Connections will kick the night off followed by the Party Kings. Tickets are only €25 and the non-stop entertainment guarantees you’ll be finding your dancing feet before the night's end.

On Saturday, the much loved parade will start from Hotel Meyrick, Eyre Square at 11.30am and will travel through the streets of Galway featuring a colourful musical line-up, vintage cars, oyster openers, the Oyster Pearls, and visiting dignitaries.

A non-stop afternoon of entertainment and festival fun awaits in the Festival Marquee; Oyster Tasting, The World Oyster Opener Championship, Best Dressed Lady competition and live music. Guests are invited to enjoy a seafood medley with freshly baked Irish brown bread followed by a choice of fresh Galway oysters or locally smoked salmon platter whilst sipping on a complimentary beverage of their choice.

The World Oyster Opening Competition will feature Irish and international experts who have all proven speed accomplishments as they compete for the coveted title currently held by Johan Malm of Sweden, our 2010 winner. A varied, live music programme featuring the renowned Friendship Band, Emma O’Sullivan & dance troop, Long John Jump Band and The Bentley Boys will keep the crowd in high spirits throughout the day. Tickets are €80 for the full day.

The Gala Dinner will be held in in the stylish surrounding of the Hotel Meyrick. It will be a glamorous black tie evening to celebrate the 57th World Oyster Opening Champion. Sip on champagne and enjoy fresh oysters during the pre-dinner drinks reception. A gourmet five - course banquet style meal will be served accompanied by select wines throughout. An impressive musical line up including The Piano Man – Sean de Burca, Keith McDonald and the Wall Street Band with Gareth Phillips will keep you entertained and dancing until the early hours - making this event the festival highlight that simply can't be missed! Tickets for the Gala Dinner are €110.

On Sunday September 25 - Round up the 57th Galway International Oyster & Seafood festival with style at the final event of an action-packed weekend. Live music, dancing, ‘Blas na Mara’ (Taste of the Sea ) - seafood extravaganza, family activities, cooking demos and much, much more.

Experience the unique atmosphere, savour some wonderful Irish produce and bring your little ones in marine theme costume for the ‘Oyster Sprat’ competition (a sprat is a young oyster ). Children under 12 years go free. Overall, a great day out in Galway for all the family!

In additional to the ‘Blas na Mara’ there will be cooking demonstrations and an Irish Coffee Making competition. There will also be a ‘Jive and Jazz’ with the West Coast Big Band followed by the Springbreak 80s band bringing the 2011 festival to an exuberant close.

All tickets are currently available on www.galwayoysterfestival.com Alternatively, contact the festival team on [email protected] or 091 575875 for more details.

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