The 2008 Hillsborough International Oyster Festival was
held on Thursday 4th to Saturday 6th September. Now in its 16th
year, events included a Canadian open boat race, Tug-of-war and
Fashion Show on Thursday; the Rat Pack Gala Ball on Friday; and
a children’s fancy dress, children’s fun dog show, market,
carnival, soapbox derby, World Oyster Eating Championship Finals
and RAF Red Arrows fly-by on Saturday.
Hillsborough Square was packed wall to wall with people to see
World Champion Oyster Eater Colin Shirlow regain his title,
fighting off fierce competition from USA’s Sonya Thomas (The
Black Widow) and other International competitors. Former Lisburn
man Colin, who now lives in Dromore, was just three short of the
world record of 233, woofing down an incredible 230 oysters;
Sonya on this occasion only managed 191.
First prize in the senior Soap Box Derby Race was won by Morrow
Fuels featuring well-known local rally driver Philip Morrow
together with Jonny Morrow (driver), Derek Morrow and Hammy
Bell; the joint runners up were Brown’s Coaches and Ruddle
Metals. Hillsborough Young Farmers Club took first prize in the
Junior Race; the runners-up were Plastic Fantastic and Biggles
took third place. The ‘Almac’ team collected £7,000 sponsorship
winning the Harry Bell Trophy.
Saturday’s events began with the official opening of the
festival in Hillsborough Castle where Norma Bell MBE,
Chairperson of the Lisburn Action Cancer Group, thanked the
organising committee of Hillsborough International Oyster
Festival for their generous financial support. Guests included
Alderman Edwin Poots MLA (Deputy Mayor), Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey
Donaldson, May McFettridge, Action Cancer representatives and
sponsors. Last year’s event raised £45k for charity and with
continued support from their sponsors, the organisers hope to
beat that amount this year.
A live band and BBQ in the marquee on Saturday evening finished
what was a fantastic festival for all ages.
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