Army of giant crustaceans set for North Norfolk Crabfest
Richard BatsonAn army of 72 giant crabs and lobsters will march on two north Norfolk towns this spring.But the colourful models scattered around Cromer and Sheringham are just part of a weekend celebrating the creatures' links with area - with events ranging from catching to cooking them.Richard Batson
An army of 72 giant crabs and lobsters will march on two north Norfolk towns this spring.
But the colourful models scattered around Cromer and Sheringham are just part of a weekend celebrating the creatures' links with area - with events ranging from catching to cooking them.
And the new festival in May, supported by the EDP, has been buoyed up by some big name sponsors coming on board.
The main backers the Cromer Crab Company, which has put �12,000 in themselves, have also got some of its major customers involved.
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Waitrose and Marks and Spencer are each putting in �4,500 to pay for a special mobile kitchen with television screens to be used by local celebrity chefs headlined by Galton Blackiston and Chris Coubrough.
And Tesco is putting �6,000 towards the Crustacean Crawl of 3ft and 6ft crab and lobster models, which will be arriving in the coming weeks, ready for local businesses and groups to decorate then display in the lead up to the May 21-23 festival.
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Other events happening in the two towns will include a pier crabbing championship, folk, brass and orchestral music, gansey and crab pot making demonstrations, the launch of a special beer, crab-themed movies and creation of a community film.
Cromer Crab Company raw materials buyer Nic Samuljik said it was hoped the big companies would also send some of their own chefs to take part.
Marks and Spencer fish delicatessen buyer Nicola Parry said: 'Fish sustainability is at the heart of our business and we are very proud to buy lobster and crab from the Cromer area so our customers can enjoy the best quality UK fish and shellfish that comes from sustainable local sources."
Tesco's seafood buyer Stan Burns added: 'This is all about supporting the Cromer Crab Company and local jobs.
'As their biggest customer we've always been supportive of the Cromer business. We're proud of what they do for us, and wanted to put something back into the north Norfolk community.'
Tesco and Waitrose are currently at the centre of rival supermarket plans at Sheringham, where major Noel Gant said: 'We're all aware of current local sensitivities, but Tesco's help in sponsoring the sculpture trail and Waitrose's support of the food festival is simply about helping us provide the best possible festival for local people and visitors.'
Cromer mayor Hilary Thompson added that because the numbers of sculptures had soared from the expected 50 to 72 'we need extra funding to cover these unexpected additional costs.'
The crabs and lobsters will be auctioned after the festival, with the proceeds being split between the Cromer and Sheringham lifeboat stations, Help for Heroes, and funding the event next year.
Watch out for updates about the festival in the EDP over the coming months.