Festival of the Sea gains support – Fishupdate.com

Festival of the Sea gains support Published:  01 April, 2010

THE organisers of Oban’s first Festival of the Sea have been overwhelmed at community support and enthusiasm for the event.

60 eventsThe finishing touches are being put to a programme of 60 events to be held in the town and surrounding area, between May 21 and 31. The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) initiated the celebration of the area’s connection with the sea, and Helen McNeill, SAMS outreach officer, said the festival had captured the imagination of everyone involved.

‘Originally we were planning a marine science festival,’ she said. ‘We called it the Festival of the Sea as we wanted to really open it up to everyone who wants to be involved.‘We have had tremendous support from the community, a really positive reaction.’

Individuals, groups and businesses from Appin to Easdale, Taynuilt to Kerrera have agreed to host events. The programme will include a seafood barbecue, art and photographic exhibitions, a shipping heritage walk, environmental talks, a Gaelic ceilidh and boat trips. There will also be an open day at SAMS, with a local food market and battle re-enactment at the nearby Dunstaffnage Castle.

More than 1,000 primary pupils have already taken part in workshops with SAMS marine scientists and staff from the Group for Recycling in Argyll and Bute, learning about marine energy, food from the sea and beach litter. They have been set challenges and competitions to work on in the run up to the festival.

Dr Anuschka Miller said by focusing on the sea, the festival would tie together many important aspects of life in Oban.‘We want people to celebrate what they have and to feel proud of the environment they live in, and maybe learn a bit more about it,’ she said.

‘We hope if it grows and becomes a regular event, that it will bring people into Oban.Deep down, I hope that the Oban area will come to represent the sea, in the same way that Fort William is seen as representing the mountains.’