Ely's Eel Day Celebrations 2012 – Coming Soon

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By elypeople | Sunday, April 15, 2012, 11:20

Ely is set to celebrate its history once again with its annual Eel Day Procession and Eel Throwing Competition, staged in tribute to the predatory fish that inspired the city's name.

For the uninitiated, the city of Ely took its name from an old English word meaning 'district of eels' and today we celebrate this ancient association with a highly enjoyable family day in the city. The festival features all kinds of eel-related entertainment and begins with the famous Eel Day Procession through the streets of the city.

Taking place on Saturday May 5, 2012, this celebration of all things slithery encompasses everything from eel throwing to eel tasting, but it also has a serious side. The day finds time to commemorate all those local and national traditions that are under pressure from the passing of time, with folk music, morris dancing and historical displays taking centre stage. There will also be plenty of games, plus craft and food stalls.

Eel Day begins with a procession through the streets of Ely, starting next to Ely Cathedral on Cross Green before passing down the High Street and Forehill. It culminates with a parade along Ely's famous Waterside before coming to its conclusion in Jubilee Gardens, where many of the day's celebrations will take place.

The procession is led by Ellie the Eel, a giant version of the snake-like fish that was created by children at St Mary's Primary School, and Ely Samba Band usually provide the lively accompaniment. People are actively encouraged to join in the parade – don't just watch from the sidelines, say the organisers, once the parade has passed you, just join in and follow Ellie down to the river.

Many of the day's activities take place at Jubilee Gardens and outside The Maltings on the Riverside, including an impressive battle of the Town Criers that features the best Town Criers from around the country shouting 'Hear ye' and 'Oyez' as they compete to win the coveted annual prize. People are also invited to take part in the National Eel Throwing Competition – but don't worry, you won't be asked to throw real eels, as the contest is based on the popular village fete game of 'wellie throwing'.

There will also be a wide array of entertainment throughout the day. In Jubilee Gardens there will be a range of activities including tanks of real eels brought by the Environment Agency, plus the opportunity to meet the last eel catcher in East Cambridgeshire. Later in the afternoon there will be dance exhibitions from May Pole Dancers to Shani Belly Dancing and an Eel Conga Finale.

Children can try on costumes and play period games and everyone can tuck into smoked and jellied eels, while the grown-ups can wash it down with a special Eel Day brew. As eels are an acquired taste, there is also a hog-roast or falafel alternative.

The procession starts at 10.30am on May 5, 2012 at Cross Green, which is next to the Cathedral.

Related Articles

Eel Day Procession In Ely 2011 – Picture Gallery

Ely's Eel Day Celebrations At Jubilee Gardens 2011 – Picture Gallery

Ely's 2011 Eel Day Festival Is A Big Hit

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  • Profile image for davealsop

    Is it true the Townhouse pub are running the Real Ale tent at Eel Day? That would make for a lively event.

    By davealsop at 09:47 on 25/04/12

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