Posted on Tuesday 31 July 2012 by Ulster Business

World Oyster Eating Chamption   Colin Shirlow

World Oyster Eating Chamption, Colin Shirlow

The Hillsborough International Oyster Festival is celebrating its 20th year with a giant wave of events during the four-day Festival, taking place from 6-9th September 2012.

Up to 15,000 participants will join in the Festival that commences on Thursday 6th September with the Diamond and Pearls Fashion Show in the Festival marquee supported by The Outlet, Banbridge. The shopping destination, with some of the world’s best loved brands, will exhibit its collections on the catwalk before the announcement of the Miss Oyster Pearl competition winner who will receive a modeling contract with Northern Ireland’s premier modeling agency, Style Academy.

The Festival marquee will be decked out in the style of the Titanic on Friday 7th September for the Titanic Gala Ball. Guests will enjoy a seven-course banquet with wine based upon meals that were served to passengers on board Titanic’s historic voyage.

The village of Hillsborough will come to life on Saturday 8th September with a gourmet food market and live cookery demonstrations from some of Northern Ireland’s leading chefs including Brian McKenna, Shu; Niall McKenna, James Street South; Danny Millar, The Parson’s Nose; Derek Patterson, The Plough and Andy Rea, Mourne Seafood Bar.

Also on Saturday, the warm up event to the World Oyster Eating Championship will see contenders consume 30 native oysters in the fastest time. The current record of 22.01 seconds is held by Soon Ok Potters from South Korea. Immediately after that, Co. Down man Colin Shirlow will defend his world record in the world Oyster Eating Championship. Colin is undefeated since 2003 and his record stands at 233 oysters in 3 minutes!
A live concert by Queen tribute act, Flash Harry, and a BBQ will bring the Festival’s events on Saturday to a close.

Sprucefield Park and Ride will once again be the location for Super Car Dream Rides on Sunday 9th September when members of the public have the opportunity to avail of a chauffeur driven ride in some of the world’s most exclusive sports cars including Ferrari, Aston Martin, Porsche and Lotus bringing the 2012 Festival to a close.

The Hillsborough International Oyster Festival 2012 is supporting local charity, The Jill Todd Trust. Jill Todd was a born and bred Hillsborough girl and she attended Hillsborough Primary School and later Wallace High School. Film and photography became her chosen career path leading to the study of those subjects at Edinburgh Napier University, graduating with a First Class Honours Degree in 2009.

A successful career in photography was cut short when Jill’s life was taken by cancer in October 2010, aged 23. In January 2011, Jill’s family established The Jill Todd Trust, a charity to promote photography, the careers of young photographers and to raise funds for the care of those who suffer from and research into the quest to a cure for cancer.

The 2012 Festival is also hosting a family fun day at Hillsborough Castle on 19th August including activities for children such as face painting, treasure hunts and kids disco while for adults a gourmet hog roast and live military marching band will entertain the crowds.

The second Oyster Masters golfing event will take place on 4th September at Lisburn Golf Club.

For further information and for the complete guide to the Hillsborough International Oyster Festival 2012, including online ticket purchase log on to www.hillsboroughoysterfestival.com

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