Famous chef Jean Christophe-Novelli and 1940s harmony trio The Knightingales among highlights of Ely Eel Festival Weekend 2020
PUBLISHED: 16:14 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:14 05 March 2020
A cookery demonstration from TV chef Jean Christophe-Novelli and a performance by 1940s harmony trio The Knightingales are just some of the reasons why you won’t want to miss Eel Festival Weekend 2020.
Giving visitors a chance to celebrate Ely'e eel origins during four days of quirky eel-related fun and entertainment, this year's festival runs from May 7-10 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
The fun kicks off on Thursday 7 with the launch of the eel food safari before the business eel throwing event on St Mary's Green (outside Oliver Cromwell's House).
Visitors will be able to check out Ely's restaurants, cafés and food venues to see what creative eel twists they have put on their menus for this weekend.
A full map will be available online for visitors to choose either an 'eel dish' or a 'festival special' from one of the venues.
Organisers will be announcing all participating eateries on the safari trail on their website closer to the event.
Then, on Bank Holiday Friday, May 8, it will be time for Eel Day as the celebrations take over Jubilee Gardens.
The annual eel day parade departs from Cross Green (next to Ely Cathedral) at 10.30am.
Ely's patriotic 'Ellie the Eel' will be leading the 'VE day/carnival' inspired procession down to the Waterside and into Jubilee Gardens where a range of activities will be held.
Arena events will start following a 'VE Day' cry from Ely town crier Avril Hayter.
Dancing, singing, re-enactments and more acts will follow - some of which will have 1940's theme.
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One of the highlights of the day will be the world eel throwing competition - "no eels will be harmed in this competition, just stuffed toys" say organisers.
There will be a range of stalls with everything from craft tents, a street food scene, bars and fresh smoked eel (if you fancy).
The event will close at 4pm with the results of the longest 'eel throw' of the day and the best dressed VE Day shop window.
The civic ceremony and further VE Day events will take place at Ely Cathedral from 5pm followed by the lighting of the peace beacon on St Mary's Green at 7pm.
The eel weekend fun then continues on May 9 and 10 as Ely's Food and Drink Festival takes place on Palace Green and St Mary's Green.
With more than 75 artisan and specialist food and drink traders, some wartime recipes will be revived with a modern-day twist to tie in with this year's theme of 'good old British food'.
The kitchen pantry will be on St Mary's Green while a cookery theatre will be led by award-winning Tristan Welch from Parkers Tavern Cambridge.
Multi-Michelin star and 5/5 AA Rosette winning chef, author and restaurateur Jean Christophe-Novelli will also be there to talk all things food.
Both will be demonstrating some good 'old fashioned' recipes that they've made their own.
The cookery live shows kick off at 11am, with a full line-up to be announced soon.
Finally, there'll be live entertainment in the beer and music tent including some 1940s jazz and singing acts as well as three-part harmony trio The Knightingales.
For more information visit www.elyeelfestival.co.uk or search visitely on Facebook, @visitely on Twitter or @visit_ely on Instagram.
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