Rye set to celebrate local produce with Scallop Festival

RYE’S annual Scallop Festival gets underway next week and looks to be bigger than ever this year.

The Festival has helped put the town and it’s fishing fleet on the national food map and has been featured on TV by celebrity chefs the Hairy Bikers.

The Festival coincides with Valentine’s Day with organisers keen to point out claims for the shellfish as an aphrodisiac.

It runs from February 15 - 23, but there are some live music and restaurant events from Thursday 13.

The week will see restaurants serving up the local delicacy in a variety of creative and mouth-watering ways as well as cookery and shelling demonstrations, a special farmer’s market and live music.

It culminates with the now famous What A Load of Scallops Race, which sees teams racing to be first over the finishing line while pushing a wheelbarrow load of scallops.

Webbes restaurant will be running its popular Scallops School on three days during the week while the Ship Inn, at the Strand, hosts a number of events including the Never Mind the Scallops pageant, on Sunday 16, which will see a Scallop Queen or King being crowned.

Entrants will be judged on marine inspired costumes and their ability to sing a song or recite a poem. You can even perform a dance or bring something scallop related that you have made.

To enter email karen@theshipinnrye.co.uk.

Other events include a Fisherman’s Trail and a chance to win a Mini for a weekend.

Twenty restaurants will be serving up scallop dishes in Rye and also at Winchelsea Beach and Ewhurst Green.

The Old Dairy Brewery will once again be brewing its Scallop Top dry stout - a perfect match for scallops.

For more on the Scallop Festival and the full programme of events visit www.scallop.org.uk.