City gears up for plenty of fun and frolics at annual Eel Festival

The traditional EeL Festival parade from Ely Cathedral to Jubilee Gardens. Picture: Steve Williams

The traditional EeL Festival parade from Ely Cathedral to Jubilee Gardens. Picture: Steve Williams - Credit: Archant

The Ely Eel Festival returns in May and organisers have a feast of fun planned.

The event begins with an eel throwing competition taking place in Market Place on Friday, May 1.

City centre retailers and businesses will battle it out to be crowned ‘Eel Throwing Business of the Year’, the title is currently held by Whizzle.

On the Saturday – the action begins with the eel procession starting at 10.30am, the parade led by a giant eel, Ely’s Samba Band and town criers will start from Cross Green, next to Ely Cathedral and head down to the Waterside, ending in the Jubilee Gardens.

In the gardens there will be folk music, a town crier competition, dancing, historical displays, the world eel throwing competition, basket weaving and tanks of real eels brought by the Environment Agency.

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Returning from last year will also be an eel food safari and food and drink festival.

Tracey Harding, tourism team leader at East Cambridgeshire District Council said: “The eel is synonymous with the Isle of Ely ever since the city paid over 80,000 eels to Peterborough for stones to build the cathedral.

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“So it makes sense to us to celebrate the humble eel and its part in our history. Every year, our festival gets bigger and better – so from an event which used to last a day – we now have a four day extravaganza.

“With so much to see and do – I am sure the crowds will be huge to celebrate Ely’s culture and traditions.”

For information on all these activities and many other fringe events keep checking out our Eel Festival Weekend page at and follow us on Twitter @visitely.

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