Let the world be your oyster at the annual Hillsborough International Oyster Festival 2015. Running from Tuesday 1st to Sunday 6th September, this world-famous Festival offers visitors the opportunity to sample the finest locally sourced produce and to be entertained by local artists and fun activities.

LET THE WORLD BE YOUR OYSTER The Hillsborough International Oyster Festival’s very own Oyster Pearl, Emma Friars, (left) is pictured with Sarah Waugh from the Festival organising committee at the launch of this year’s event at Hillsborough Castle. The Festival runs from 1st-6th September 2015. Visit www.hillsboroughoysterfestival.com

The Hillsborough Oyster Festival will include activities, performances and eating experiences to satisfy all tastes. This year’s Festival will see the return of the World Oyster Eating Championship, the glamourous Pearl and Oyster Ball, The Oyster Masters Golf, the Super Car Dream Sunday and the Soapbox Derby which is being sponsored by TrustFord this year. The line-up will also feature the debut of a number of exciting events including the appetising Hillsborough Gourmet Pop-Up Restaurant.

The week-long Oyster Festival attracts large numbers of tourists to the Hillsborough area each year and now in its 23rd year, the prestigious event once again anticipates many visitors from the USA, Japan and beyond, all travelling to Northern Ireland to indulge in the unique food festival.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s event, Don Spence, Chairman, Festival organising committee said, “Each year the Festival goes from strength to strength and contributes enormously to the local tourism industry. It sparks interest among food lovers, car fanatics and music fans. This year we’re looking forward to having racer Guy Martin join us for the TrustFord Soap Box Derby, as well welcoming the Ulster Youth Orchestra as a new addition to the Festival line-up, all in support of our nominated charities, Clubs for Young People (CYP NI) and the Hillsborough Village Centre.”

Premium gastronomy is a core ingredient of the Festival’s success with shellfish taking centre stage on Saturday 5th September at the World Oyster Eating Championship where competitors will be given the chance to win the coveted champion’s title. The new Gourmet Pop-up restaurant which premiers on Thursday 3rd September will provide guests with an exclusive dining experience comprising a three-course meal with dishes prepared by chefs from the Mourne Seafood Bar, The Hillside, The Parson’s Nose and The Plough.

Don Spence adds, “The Festival is a great opportunity for neighbourhood restaurants to display their culinary flair and local food producers to exhibit their home-grown goods at the Festival’s Gourmet Food Market.”

In addition to the cuisine, The Hillsborough International Oyster Festival also gives visitors the chance to delight in the company of the local community through the scheduled social events such as the Oyster Masters Golf Day, live concerts, the Pearl and Oyster Blues Brothers Ball, and during the open-air motor show at Super Car Dream Sunday.

The Hillsborough International Oyster Festival also kindly acknowledges the support of Tourism NI and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council in the staging of this year’s event.

For further information or to purchase tickets visit www.hillsboroughoysterfestival.com