Thousands of people flocked to Salcombe on Sunday to enjoy the town’s annual seafood celebration, ‘Crabfest’.

The event, which included cookery demonstrations from well-known chefs, a street market filled with over 80 street exhibitors, live music and more, attracted hundreds of families looking to make the most of the bank holiday weekend.

Organised by the Rotary Club of Salcombe, the festival is run entirely in aid of charity – with all donations collected from festival goers this year being donated to Devon Air Ambulance, Chill South Devon and Devon Mind. The total raised for 2023 is yet to be confirmed, but the amount will add to the £50,000 the event has donated to good causes since it began in 2016.

Chefs' Demo Marquee 2023
(Norsworthy Photography)

The Chefs’ Demo Marquee was a highlight of the day – in addition to the hourly demonstrations by the likes of Freddy Bird and Jane Baxter, BBC Radio Devon’s David Fitzgerald offered hilarious commentary, running various Q&A sessions with the chefs.

The 2023 Crabfest chef line up
The 2023 Crabfest chef line up (Norsworthy Photography)

This allowed on-lookers to learn more about the industry, the chefs and the ingredients being used. There were also plenty of opportunities to sample the dishes made by the experts, which included crab risotto, spider crab and squid paella, crab arancini, and jerk rum lobster!

Outside the marquee, in the Creek Car Park delicious street food was available in abundance. Chris Puncher of Salcombe Fish and Shellfish Ltd – who kindly donated all the crab for the demonstrations – as well as Lizzie Allsop from Crabby Cuisine, offered a wealth of crab and seafood dishes including barbecued half lobsters, spicy crab linguine, and crab and cheddar quiches. From pork baps and calamari to Thai noodles, the variety of street food on offer was impressive.

Throngs of people also headed to Normandy Pontoon to visit local fisherman Jon Dornom and his crabbing boat, Tenacious. The tanks were filled with a host of marine life for children to observe, and with live crab available to buy in aid of the South Devon and Channel Shellfishermen ‘Fisherman’s Benevolent Fund’, many visitors took crabs home for supper!

Crowds enjoying Crabfest 2023
(Norsworthy Photography)

Revellers were transported to and from the heart of the festival by shuttle bus. Operating from the specially designated Park and Ride field just outside of Salcombe, the smooth operation was kindly run for the day by the Kingsbridge Air Cadets.

Nick Brodie, organiser of Salcombe Crabfest said “What an amazing event Crabfest 2023 was. It was incredibly well supported by visitors and locals alike. There is such a community feel about Crabfest - it is a really great opportunity for everyone to relax and celebrate the delicious crab we catch here.”

He continues, “Of course, Crabfest simply wouldn’t happen without the help and support of so many generous people and local businesses.

“A massive thank you to our main sponsors Coast & Country Cottages, Marchand Petit and Devon Rum Co., as well as the many volunteers, chefs and contributors who work so hard to make Crabfest come together. We can’t wait for Crabfest 2024.”