A NEW festival on Portland this weekend celebrates Dorset’s finest both below and above the sea.

Fish & Ships at Portland Marina combines a boat show and food festival.

The main show days are on Saturday and Sunday but things get going today with live music and a barbecue.

The free event showcases a variety of water-based craft and fresh food samples as well as watersports demonstrations, boat trips and much more.

There will be around 30 Dorset food and drink stands promoting everything from oysters to chocolate, artisan bread to local cider, and there will be plenty of demonstrations.

The RNLI, Coastwatch, British Marine Federation and Lyme Regis’ Boat Building Academy will all be involved in encouraging youngsters to take to the sea and IPACA will display the boats it built with Sunseeker.

As well as promoting Dean & Reddyhoff’s Portland Marina, businesses at Osprey Quay will be also opening their doors and showcasing their wares.

Entertainment includes competitions and fun for all the family with crab catching and other games.

The newly-opened Harbour Lights restaurant will provide hot food and the Down House Farm will have hogget on the spit on Friday night.

Marina manager Russ Levett said: “The feeling was that we wanted to do something to promote the marina and Osprey Quay and encourage people to come on site.

“We don’t think the area is fantastically well known. I think the perception is that Osprey Quay is about the Olympics and sailing but there are a lot of businesses down here.”

He added: “The festival will see boat enthusiasts and foodies come together to showcase the best of Dorset.

“We’re very excited to be hosting the first event and hope it will become an annual festival.”

Getting things started, a group of cyclists will ride to Portland from Dean & Reddyhoff’s other sites at Haslar and East Cowes for the firm’s Big Green Cycle Challenge.

They will be encouraging environmental awareness as they pedal the 80+ miles, arriving at Portland about 5pm.

There will be a barbecue and live music on both Friday and Saturday evenings. Shooter will play on Friday and Finn plays on Saturday.