SIZZLING seafood, chef demos, crab picking and fun in the sunshine are on offer at the award-winning Dorset Seafood Festival this year.

The seventh annual Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival is supported by the Dorset Echo as media sponsors and will take place on Weymouth harbourside on July 12 and 13.

Joining title sponsor Pommery will be Dorset’s Piddle Brewery and wine sponsor Ara Wines.

Last year, over 50,000 people packed the streets and the harbourside to see more than 90 stands, enjoy the Champagne and seafood and watch demonstrations from top chefs.

The festival is regarded as one of the most convivial and tasty events in the county’s annual calendar, as well as being the largest free seafood festival in the UK.

Plans are in progress for the 2014 event with organisers promising an event that will have ‘something for everyone’.

There will be interactive demonstrations from a line-up of top chefs including Dorset’s own.

Dorset Seafood Festival chairman, Roger Dalton, said: “We’ve been successful in securing further repeat sponsorship with the return of Lloyds Bank, Weird Fish Clothing, Piddle Brewery and a five-year deal with Pommery Champagne.

“The 2014 Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival will hopefully offer something for everyone.”

Events this year will include interactive demonstrations, competitions, chefs, filleting demos, Champagne pouring activities, music and entertainment, crab picking, oysters, expert food and wine matching from Ara Wines.

The event, held annually on the middle weekend of July, started in 2008 and attracted the sponsorship of Pommery Champagne in 2010.

In 2013 it was judged Britain’s fourth Best Food Festival by the Independent newspaper. The festival also scooped a silver award for tourism event of the year at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards back in January.

Last year, the event raised £7,973 for its charity partner The Fishermen’s Mission and the charity will again be the beneficiary of this year’s festival.

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