Ely is set to be inundated by all types of eels on Saturday 28th April for the city’s fourth Annual Eel Day.
The day will encompass a whole range of events to celebrate Ely’s heritage and historic association with the humble eel.
Starting at noon, a carnival like procession led by ‘Ellie the Eel’, Ely’s Samba Band and 12 Town Criers will start from Cross Green next to the Cathedral and head along part of the City’s Eel Trail Heritage Walk, down to the Waterside. The procession will end in the Jubilee Gardens where a whole host of eel related activities are planned.
Anyone is welcome to join in the parade which will include members of Ely’s Lantern Studios and children from Ely Barns Group. They have spent their Easter holidays working with local artist John Lyons to help make the event’s mascot: ‘Ellie the Eel’.
Tracey Harding, Tourism and Events Officer for East Cambridgeshire District Council said: “The Annual Eel Day is all about celebrating Ely’s culture and traditions as well as encouraging awareness of the Eel Trail. On the day, there will be the chance to experience life in years gone past with a living encampment showing the trades and wares of the time while for the more adventurous there will be the chance to taste smoked and jellied eels.
“This year’s procession will also involve 12 visiting Town Criers in all their finery, as part of Ely’s first Town Crier’s competition. It was the city’s own Town Crier, Avril Hayter’s idea to host a competition as they bring so much vibrancy, interest and of course noise to a town.”
The 12 criers will gather on Palace Green for the first cry of the day at 11am. Eight judges have been carefully selected from the local community and each one has a particular criteria to judge the criers performance on. The second cry of the day will be held in Jubilee Gardens at 3pm and the winners will then be announced.
Each crier is being sponsored by local businesses and already The Cutter Inn, The Boathouse Restaurant, Food Skills, Burrow’s Bookshop, Ely Standard, Toppings, The Atrium and the Lamb Hotel have signed up to sponsor a visiting town crier. In return, the crier is able to promote their business by performing a personal cry about them.
Tracey continues: “Along with a full programme of arena events including musical performances, children’s theatre and historical re-enactments, Eel Day will involve lots of family activities. For example, can you beat the East Cambs record for Eel Throwing? Based on the wellie throwing, children and parents can battle it out to see who can throw the handmade eel socks the furthest. Local eel catcher, Peter Carter will also be on hand to show you all his eel catching equipment and there will be an opportunity to see how eel baskets are made and have a go at basked weaving yourself.
“We are sure Eel Day will be a success and hope to continue to build on this unique event each year to involve more and more businesses and organisations to further raise the profile of the Isle of Eels.”
Ely Lions, who have worked closely with East Cambridgeshire District Council and ADeC to bring Ely this annual event, will be out in force helping steward the procession as well as manning their traditional tombola.