The organisers of the Hillsborough International Oyster Festival have confirmed that they have been forced to cancel this year’s event due to rising costs and funding issues.
The long-running festival, which attracts visitors from all over the world, had been due to celebrate its 25th anniversary this September. However, the plans for this year’s event have now been shelved.
In an announcement on the festival’s official Facebook page, the organisers said they hope the award-winning event will return next year.
“It is with regret that we announce that the Hillsborough International Oyster Festival will not be taking place this year. 2017 would have marked the 25th anniversary of the festival, however due to rising costs and changes in funding agreements the committee has had to take the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event,” the statement said.
“Over the years the festival has raised in excess of £600,000 for local charities and we fully appreciate all of the support that the festival has received during this time.
“We aim to be back in September 2018, subject to sufficient funding and support which is crucial to help deliver this large scale event, and to enable us to celebrate our 25th anniversary in true Hillsborough International Oyster Festival style,” the organisers added.
Reacting to the announcement, Lagan Valley MLA Pat Catney said: “I am very disappointed that in its 25th year, the organisers have had to cancel the Hillsborough Oyster Festival due to funding difficulties.
“Not only has the festival brought tourists to our area from all over the world, but it has also successfully raised over £600,000 for local charities.
“I would urge all those involved to work together to find a solution that sees the oyster festival return to Hillsborough in 2018.”