We regularly come to Falmouth in October and the weather is normally fine. This year was stormy at times and the marquee on Events Square, used for a lot of the events at the annual Oyster Festival, had to be closed on Friday due to the high winds. That was disappointing, but the weather on Saturday and Sunday made up for it.
The sun came out and I watched Falmouth working boats with their lovely coloured gaff sails racing around the harbour. They are the boats that dredge for the oysters under sail – it is forbidden to use a boat with an engine in the Fal to fish for oysters. At the same time I drank a pint of Penny Come Quick (Skinner’s local milk stout named after the precursor village to Falmouth) accompanied by a dozen Fal oysters. Standing in the sunshine I genuinely felt that life couldn’t get any better.
I then went into the big tent and watched Ken from Oliver’s restaurant do a cookery demonstration, followed by a cello recital, then more cooking, before wandering around the local craft stands to buy a few gifts. I also bought a pile of local prawns for dinner; they were lovely.
It was such a nice day that we then took the dog for a walk out to Pendennis Head and along the coast to Gylly beach before heading back to the tent to see the Oggy Men sing. It was the climax to the festival and a bit like the Last Night of the Proms. There were eight hundred people, mostly local, in the tent all singing along to Cornish anthems. It made me realise what a tremendous community spirit there is here and how it can so easily rub off on visitors too – it’s probably why so many people now want to live here.
The Falmouth Oyster Festival is just one of many events held each year in Falmouth to attract visitors, but some of them, like the Oyster Festival, help define the place: they remind everyone just what it is to be a Falmouthian.