SeaFest Peterhead hailed roaring success as thousands descend upon the Blue Toon and organisers reveal event’s return

Thousands of people came out in force to support Peterhead’s latest seafood festival at the weekend as the inaugural SeaFest Peterhead event took place.

Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight
Published: 11/09/2023

Thousands of people came out in force to support Peterhead’s latest seafood festival at the weekend as the inaugural SeaFest Peterhead event took place.

Organised by a small committee of volunteers, the festival took place on Saturday September 9 from 11am to 4pm, attracting huge crowds from across the north-east.

Exhibitors from as far as London and Isle of Skye were in attendance, as were multiple local businesses. Five local chefs including Kevin Dalgleish, Graham Mitchell, Orry Shand, Khanim Guild and Kenny Smart hosted cooking demonstrations throughout the day in the Seafood Scotland Kitchen, while student chefs joined Graham Singer of ESS in the brand’s own kitchen.

There was plenty for all the family to get stuck into, too, with free face painting on offer, a treasure hunt and other activities. Local community and dance groups also performed and there was a market with around 60 stalls.

The Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, Sandy Manson, officially opened the event with the Peterhead Sea Cadets.

Other highlights included a Postman Pat van charity raffle in aid of Men United which was won by Kevin Buchan who re-donated the van to the Peterhead-based group, and the emergency services being present to allowed children to see inside an ambulance and understand how the Coastguard and RNLI operate.

Peterhead Fish Company hosted a fish filleting demonstration and seaweed forager, Jayson Byles of East Neuk Seaweed, also ran his own wild cooking demo.

The winners of the best stand were Fishing Float Art and Turning the Plastic Tide.

Jimmy Buchan, chair of the voluntary committee, who also owns local seafood firm Amity Fish Company based at Seagate where the event was held was “overwhelmed” when reflecting on the day.

He said: “To see the buzz around Peterhead was outstanding. It was incredible that so many people come out to support the festival, what a brilliant community we have here in Peterhead and the wider north-east.

“The Steering Group couldn’t quite believe the draw the festival had, and to see the last six weeks of hard work come to fruition in such a positive way was quite overwhelming for everyone.

“Without our sponsors and the support of the committee who have worked tirelessly to put this event on, SeaFest Peterhead could not have happened, and I am so grateful to all of the community, local groups and businesses, chefs and volunteers for supporting us.

“It’s safe to say we’ll be back in 2024!”

Seafood was in high demand at the festival with the pick your own langoustine offering at the Favonius PD17’s stand proving so popular that it sold out around 1pm. The boat was also docked at the harbour for everyone to see.

Annette Buchan who runs the business with her husband Phil, said: “It was a fantastic day, and we had some good conversations with festival goers about our product and our industry.

“It was a great opportunity to show off the quality of fresh seafood available in the north-east. Our son Louie came up with the idea of “pick your own prawns”. For me, this was my highlight, seeing the local kids get hands on with the langoustine. We only wish we had kept more aside for SeaFest Peterhead as the demand was so high. Count us in for next year.”

Sponsors of the event include Peterhead Port Authority, Seafood Scotland, Peterhead Marquee Hire, ESS Compass Group, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, NESFD, Seafish, MacDuff Shellfish, Scottish Seafood Association, Box Pool Solutions, Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation, The Scottish White Fish Producers, Amity Fish Company, Aberdeenshire Council and Seafood Ecosse.

Sandy Garvock of Men United in Peterhead, freelance food and drink journalist, Julia Bryce and Cat Frankitti of Innes Ross were the hosts of the event.

Ronnie Kelman, managing director of ESS, Energy, Government & Infrastructure, was delighted that his team got the opportunity to showcase their skills in the ESS Kitchen.

He added: “We’ve really enjoyed being part of SeaFest Peterhead. It was fantastic to see so many people out and about enjoying some great local food and soaking up the atmosphere.

“The whole team loved being part of the day, and our junior team members gained some valuable experience to support them in their future careers.”

The event was free to attend and will return to the Blue Toon next summer.

Photo credit - Fat Man Skinny Camera

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