Fabulous free Hastings Herring Festival: Everything you need to know

Hastings Herring Fair returns for the weekend of 23 - 24 November, a fantastic free event on the Stade open space, in the heart of Hastings historic Old Town.

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 21st November 2019, 1:24 pm
Hastings Herring Fair 2018 Sonny Elliot, owner of Rock a Nore Fisheries, SUS-181118-104108001

The Hastings fishing fleet has been catching herring off local shores since at least the 1600s when records began.

Now the council is inviting people to come along to the free Hastings Herring Fair this weekend and celebrate the undervalued ‘silver darlings of the sea’ in their many wondrous forms, from bloaters to buckling and kippers, and other seasonal fish.

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Cllr Kim Forward said: “The Herring Fair takes place on the Stade open space, in the heart of Hastings historic Old Town, just yards from the fishing beach, over the weekend of 23 and 24 November.

“As well as delicious fish dishes, stalls will be selling various local produce, wines, ciders, hot food, vegetarian options and other delights. Sussex beer will be on offer with the bar run by Harvey’s Brewery in the music area.

“Learn to create seasonal fish dishes using our local catch with free cooking demos in Classroom on the Coast, sponsored by Hastings Fish and Seafood. CJ Jackson, principal of the famous Seafood School at Billingsgate and the Hastings Fish brand ambassador, will be hosting demonstrations on both Saturday and Sunday at 12 noon and 2.30pm. CJ will create a number of recipes to celebrate the herring that will include: classic rollmops, soused herring, smoked herring and grilled herrings with mustard and basil butter.

“Demonstrations last around 90 minutes and are on a first come first served basis, these are very popular.

“There will be plenty of entertainment thanks to a fantastic music line up with a folky flavour, to include a ceilidh and sea shanties. Throughout the weekend there will be children’s sea-themed craft activities in the Stade Hall, as well as traditional net making techniques.”

The popular Sugar Loaf ceilidh band will bring the festival to a rousing close on Sunday afternoon.

A new addition this year sees a Sunday Jazz Breakfast with Mike Hatchard and friends. Doors open at 9am and performance starts at 9:30am. Ticket price includes tea or coffee and a famous Hastings Fisherman’s Roll. £13 adult / £10 child (with a paying adult).

Festival organiser Stella Landau added: “This is our eighth Herring Fair, and it promises to be a great weekend. As well as delicious fish dishes, stalls will be selling local produce, wines, ciders, hot food, and beers for every palate, with the bar run by Harvey’s. Most of the event is undercover, although there will be trailers outside too.

“Because the event can get busy, and there are children and very hot equipment around, only assist dogs are allowed into the marquee.

“The event does cost the Foreshore Trust a lot to put on, and although we’ve decided not to charge this year, we will be collecting donations.

“The Herring Fair is open from 11am ‘til 4 pm both days, do come and pay us a visit - you won’t be disappointed!”

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