Swanage Fish Festival is all set to make a fintastic return to the town after a three year absence – and hopes to be bigger and better than ever before.
The free to attend festival takes place on Saturday 17th June and Sunday 18th June 2023 in Prince Albert Gardens, the beautifully landscaped public gardens overlooking scenic Swanage Bay.
Small committee, huge success – from left: Lindsay Bish, Caroline Finch, Jackie Lane, Adam Clarke, Dee Baron and Lyn Whaley
Festival was an immediate success
In 2019, the festival made £1,000 donations each to Swanage Lifeboat Station, The Fishermen’s Mission and the National Coastwatch Institution Swanage, and organisers hope that even in the current financial climate, public support will help them to better that.
Swanage Fish Festival was originally set in 2015 up by a small group of fish loving friends to encourage people to enjoy the town’s wonderful location and terrific local fish, food, drink and crafts.
Although the festival was an immediate success and continued to grow year on year, it was disrupted by two years of Covid restrictions and then a further year by the difficulties of a small committee regrouping to take on a huge commitment.
Tasty produce fresh from the sea helps make the event unmissable
Food demonstrations with outstanding views set the tone for the festival
Aiming for a more intimate event in 2023
Festival spokesperson Jackie Lane said:
“We are still a small committee of hard working volunteers who love the public to see fabulous local businesses, sample the tasty food and drink on offer, listen to great music, watch our incredibly skilled and informative kitchen demos and relax in gorgeous surroundings.
“It has been decided to make it a more intimate festival this year, so we are not going on late into the night as we have done in the past, we will finish at 7 pm on Saturday and 4 pm on Sunday.
“In 2019 over the two-day festival we had around 10,000 visitors and we were able to give £1,000 to each of our three charities as well as some smaller amounts to a few local charities who made themselves known to us.
“We are hoping for a bumper year in 2023 after such a long absence and would like to be able to donate even more this year.”
The fishmongers Swanage Bay Fish will be among more than a dozen demonstrator stalls this year
Pantastic paellas will also feature vegetarian and vegan options
Live demonstrations with local produce
A dozen chefs from top local restaurants and hotels will be holding live demonstrations over the weekend, showing visitors how to create amazing dishes with local produce
Julia Noone from Swanage Bay Fish will be among the demonstrators, with wet fish and cooked shellfish on display and new recipes to try, with other fish stalls including The Cockleman, Weymouth Sea Food, PS Catering, Top Gun Catering and MexBox.
Swanage based Pantastic will be cooking up fabulous traditional paella dishes in their outsized pans, as well as vegetarian and vegan recipes.
And for those who may want a taste of something other than fish, Riverford Organic will be showcasing their range of vegetables, Dorset Lamb will be offering lamb koftas and burgers, Kann’s Little Thai Kitchen will have all kinds of Thai street food and Sourdough Ted will be cooking up pizza.
Other food stalls include Suzette’s Pancakes with traditional fillings as well as a fish themed salmon and cream cheese option, Gourmet Cheese toasties, Moonraker Preserves and children’s favourites Flo and Frankie’s Fudge.
The Pig Hotel has been amongst local restaurants demonstrating at the festival
A cause for celebration, the fish festival is back in town!
“Very exciting to be back after so long away!”
Jackie Lane added:
“We have Purbeck ice cream, local cider producers, the Dorset Brewery company, and wine and champagne for people to enjoy, we have tried to get a broad selection of food and drink so that the festival is not just concentrated on fish alone, we want to attract as many people as possible.
“We have a lot of support through Swanage, we increase footfall through town as people come to the Prince Albert Gardens, and we have such a lovely location with a fantastic view across the bay.
“We want to spotlight Purbeck businesses and skills, we have music all day from the Swanage Jazz Machine and entertainment for the whole family.
“It is very exciting to be back in town after so long away and we hope that as many people as possible will visit us over the weekend to say hello and enjoy the very best of Swanage!”
Oysters and champagne is always a favourite combination
There’s a lot of love for the festival in Swanage – can you fillet?