The 2024 edition of the famous and quirky Ely Eel Festival has been hailed as a “resounding success” by organisers.

Both Eel Day, and Ely’s Food, Drink and Craft Fayre, were “outstanding” said Anna Bennet, tourism and town centre manager at Visit Ely.

“Thousands of visitors came from all over the country to visit our glorious city over the bank holiday weekend,” she added.

“The sun shone throughout the three-day extravaganza, from what started out with a rainy launch on the market place with the business eel-throwing competition, to the crowds wearing sunhats and using suncream!

“From the moment the parade departed Cross Green, the fun began,” she said.

“Led by our beautiful eel and the volunteers that guide her towards the river were numerous Morris sides, followed by the New Samba band, various dance troupes, the scouts, guides and more.

“Ely’s High Street was jam-packed full of families and visitors to Ely as they cheered and danced to the sound of the drums and whistles. It was a pure joy to watch,” she added.

The Mayor of Ely, Cllr Chris Phillips, and the Lady Mayoress, Mary Roan, officially opened the festival and the arena events then begun.

The event changed location for Sunday and Monday to celebrate all local craft and food producers, and gave a chance for visitors and the community to relax in the sunshine.”

Having had a stall there, Wellness wax company Bumble, said: “Thank you for once again organising and overseeing a smashing event, Ely’s Eel Festival, Food/Drink and Craft was a triumph.

“It’s always a pleasure to trade in my home city.”

Fatbob Crafts added: “We cannot thank you all enough for the three incredible days! It’s been brilliant. We can’t wait for the next events. It is always a pleasure trading in Ely.”

Anna added: “A huge shout out to all the traders who attended the three days and thank you for the incredible positive feedback.

“A very big thank you to my team, based at Oliver Cromwell’s House who work tirelessly to make the festival happen and deliver with such precision, friendliness, and precision, you are all amazing. “

We would like to also thank our sponsors for supporting us as their contributions enable us to provide live music and other added extras.

“Those include The Old Warehouse Ely, Grovemere Property, The Cutter Inn, Urban Fresh, and Riverside Bar and Kitchen.

“Last, but not least, thanks to our volunteers, Cambridge Search and Rescue, and Ely Rotary that guided the eel down the high street keeping everyone safe.

“Also, thank you to the City of Ely Council estates teams for manning road closures, and Ely Litter Pickers for helping us at the end of the day.

“Without all of you, this wonderful event would not happen, so I am truly thankful.

“We hope all who attended this glorious three-day event had a wonderful time.

“And we hope you all made some wonderful memories and will join us for 2025.”

Here's what the Mayor of Ely had to say when he opened the festival: 

"This weekend we are celebrating – and I'll explain what I mean once I've thanked all those who have worked so hard to make our festival such a great success.

"It's a tribute to teamwork and to hard work and a special word of thanks must go to the Visit Ely team who have led on this celebration – Anna Bennett, Matt Routledge and the team.

"So what are we celebrating? – First, of course, eels. From Ely's earliest days they were caught here – a great harvest of the river and the fens.

"Our city's name is derived from them. Our forebears ate them and traded them, grew fat on them – well, perhaps – grew rich on  them, certainly. 

"Right up to modern day, Ely's eels were famous and sought after – men travelled miles to buy them and many eels ended up as jellied eels that much loved dish of traditional East End London.

"So let us for one weekend remember the glory days of our eels and be thankful for the prosperity they brought us."

Ely Standard: Eel throwing is all part of the fun

Ely Standard: Mayor of Ely, Chris Phillips, opening the festival.

Ely Standard: Eel Head Band

Ely Standard: The 2024 edition of the famous and quirky Ely Eel Festival has been hailed as a “resounding

Ely Standard: The 2024 edition of the famous and quirky Ely Eel Festival has been hailed as a “resounding

Ely Standard: The Mice Lady