Portland Fish and Ships Festival hailed a success

Dorset Echo: Brett Hibbitt, of Jurassic Seafood Brett Hibbitt, of Jurassic Seafood

A NEW festival on Portland has been hailed a success after hundreds turned out to enjoy the best Dorset has to offer.

The Fish and Ships festival at Portland Marina involved everything from watersports demonstrations to a mini boat show.

But a Dorset festival wouldn't be complete without a chance to taste the county's home-grown wares and visitors got the chance to taste everything from oysters to venison burgers.

Russ Levett, marina manager, said around 500 people visited the event on the Saturday. The festival continues tomorrow.

Mr Levett said: “We are really pleased with how it's gone, and we have been so fortunate with the weather.

“I think there can sometimes be a perception that Portland is the poor neighbour to Weymouth so to hold something like this on the island is really good.”

Organiser Penny Hopkins said she was thrilled with how well the event had been received.

She said: “The idea started off as having an oyster festival, and then through social media, and particularly things like Dorset Hour on Twitter, word got around.

“Dorset Food and Drink got involved and it just grew.”

She added: “I think if everyone's happy with how it has gone, we will definitely look at doing it again next year.”

Portland resident Lisa Kerr, 44, visited the event to take a look and try some local cider.

She said: “It's great to have something like this on the island and it would be nice to see it getting bigger and bigger if they make it an annual thing.”

The Crab House Cafe was among those to give cooking demonstrations, with chefs showing people the best way to cook oysters.

Chef Adam Foster said the crab noodles had been very well received.

He said: “I'm surprised by how many people are here for a first time event. Hopefully they will make it a yearly thing because it's a great spot for it.”

Brett Hibbitt, of Jurassic Seafood, said there was such high demand for fish burgers he sold out.

He added: “It's just been great and it's nice to see something like this based in Weymouth and Portland at this time of year.”

And Gemma Lewis, of confectionary business Dark Matters, said: “It's nice to see so many people out enjoying themselves.

“I'd love to come back if they hold it again next year. It's a nice event to start the season.”

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