Hastings first Herring Fair, held over the weekend (24/25 November), was a huge success despite torrential rain and storm force winds.
Lead member for regeneration at Hastings Borough Council, Cllr Peter Chowney, explained: “The Herring Fair on the Stade Open Space in Hastings Old Town attracted around 5000 visitors over the two days, a tremendous figure given the weather :- rain all day Saturday and very heavy showers on Sunday, and literally, storm force winds on Saturday night. But still several stalls sold out.
“The event was organised by the local ‘FLAG’ (‘Fisheries Local Action Group’) using European Fisheries Funding. The last Herring Fair took place in Hastings around 200 hundred years ago. The FLAG wanted to revive the tradition to encourage more people to try herring, a fish that is much less popular than it used to be. Yet there is herring in abundance here, the herring sold on Saturday was caught by Hastings fishermen only the day before.
“Herring tasters were given away, there were kippers for sale and even smoked kipper muffins being sold! As the fair was intended to re-ignite people’s interest in herring, it definitely worked, as by around 3pm on Sunday, there wasn’t a herring, kipper, bloater or buckling left in Hastings. There were plenty of other stalls too, and some great entertainment, with shanty singers and even a barn dance.
“The event attracted visitors from as far away as London and Southampton, amazing given the weather. Fortunately the fair was all under cover, so once people made it to the Stade they were able to wander around the stalls in the dry. We’ve had some tremendous feedback on how much visitors enjoyed the fair, and what a great atmosphere there was.
“A lot of hard work went into staging this first herring fair, and I’d like to thank everyone involved in its organisation, especially members of the FLAG, and the local fishermen.
“We hope that this will become another regular feature of our event calendar, and we also hope for better weather next time!”
To view more photos from this event, click on the MULTIMEDIA link to the right of this page.
Photos by Tony Coombes.