Sea Fest 2014 was a massive success

I am writing to express our thanks to all those who were involved in Sidmouth Sea Fest 2014 which took place on The Ham on April 21.

We are particularly grateful to all those who helped with planning and to our team of volunteers for helping on the day. The children – young and older people who helped us to put up (and take down) gazebos, and setting up and running stalls – added so much to the vibrant fun and celebratory atmosphere of the event. Sidmouth Sea Fest was designed as a celebration of Sidmouth’s beautiful coastal location and to bring together all ages and showcase the activities and opportunities afforded by such a fantastic place. We think this was achieved and received many comments during the day and afterwards that expressed thanks and an appreciation of this.

The Fish Kitchen with La Rosetta Chef, Saul Vickery and Sidmouth Trawlers’ Kay Bagwell, filleted, cooked and served fish baps, stew and soup all day long. I have never seen so many people at once enjoying locally caught John Dory and Gurnard! The ‘Creativity on the Coast’ tent, run by Community Artist Coco Hodgkinson and Art Teacher Nigel Green, was busy all day with children and adults having a go at Goyataku (Japanese fish rubbing) and painting fish casts for the Sidmouth in Bloom summer displays. There was also a real appreciation of the information about the coastal and fishing community heritage of Sidmouth.

We were aiming for a joined-up event and are thankful to those who were involved; the Gig Club, Jurassic Paddle Sports, the Sailing Club, the Science Festival and Sidmouth in Bloom, Sid Vale Folk (sea shanties), Sidmouth’s R.S.V.P. Knitting Group (knitted fish) and Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce (30 of whom were part of the Easter Fish Hunt trail and raffle). The children and young people who were involved in the very popular fish stocks activity, fish face painting, the fishing game for young children, running the raffle, giving out information, setting up and clearing up were brilliant, they had a lot of fun and were very responsible. The fish biscuits were all made by under 15s!

Support from Sidmouth Town Council and the Sid Vale Association helped us to bring together a shared experience which we hope will become an annual community event, which we can build on to ensure it involves more groups and welcomes even more community members and visitors. Thanks to Sidmouth Primary School, Sidmouth College and St John’s International School and the Sidmouth Herald who helped to promote the event.

We think it has great potential as a rich addition to Sidmouth’s annual calendar and one which could have many benefits socially, educationally and economically; bringing the community together to have fun and celebrate and joining up to build awareness of our coastal assets and how best to ensure they can be enjoyed by all.

We have posted photographs of the day on our website: and we are inviting people to leave feedback about the day, any comments and suggestions will help us to improve.

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Finally a big thank you to everyone who came along and joined in. We estimate, based on numbers doing the raffle and eating at the Fish Kitchen, that nearly 1,000 people visited Sidmouth Sea Fest during the course of the day. We know our capacity to publicise was limited and so perhaps many more would have come along if they had known about it. All of this we can improve on, but for the first event of its kind…thank you, everyone!

Louise Cole

(on behalf of Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub CIC)