The St Francis Calamari Festival is back


Do you want to know the secret to cooking delicious, tender calamari every time? Head to the 2023 Calamari Festival in St Francis Bay from 22 – 24 September 2023 to find out.

The coastal town, in the Eastern Cape near Port Elizabeth, holds its popular calamari, seafood, and sports event annually. After a break due to Covid-19, crowds of seafood lovers and their families flocked to St Francis Bay in 2022 to satisfy their tastebuds.

In 2023, visitors can expect tons of ocean-fresh calamari cooked in a variety of ways – from fried to battered, in salads, soups, and sensational seafood potjie. Participating restaurants include the Big Time Taverna, Twenty-Two Eatery, St Francis Brewery, The Quays, and Bistro Vin de Boeuf.

It’s also a wine festival!

Hosted by St Francis Tourism, event planners have also sourced a wide variety of refreshing wines, craft gins and beers that pair perfectly with the basket of ocean-inspired dishes that will be on sale over the weekend.

Join us in the beer tent, or sip and snack as you wander through the different stalls and food trucks. There will also be a big screen for the rugby on Saturday (September 23).

On Friday (September 22), the Tops Calamari Wine Festival brings together 20 top wine labels from the region and across the country, such as Raats, Beyerskloof, Durbanville Hills, Nitida and La Vierge. Tickets for the wine festival/wine tasting cost R300 per person, doors open from 15H00. Afterparty with live music starts from 20H00.

Who will be crowned this year’s Calamari King or Queen?

Back for another run, the wildly popular St Francis Calamari Festival’s calamari cook-off gives amateurs and professional chefs a chance to show off their unique and delicious recipes and win great prizes.

You can even enter your family as a group (maximum four cooks per team) for more fun together. There’s even a floating trophy for the Calamari King or Queen.

Entry for the cook-off is R200 and all funds will be donated to the National Sea Rescue Institute’s Station 21. Tasting tickets are R100 per person for three tastings.

Fun for the whole family

Every year, St Francis Bay’s Calamari Festival delivers fun and entertainment for the entire family. Children can look forward to games, live music, and other ocean-focused sideline events.

On Sunday (24 September), the NSRI will give a thrilling live demo at Port St Francis. Families can also enjoy an ocean trip during their stay or have fun fishing from the shore.

Various sporting events will take place throughout the weekend, including a Calamari Classic Golf comp on the 21 September, Calamari Classic Bowls on 22 September, and a Nautical Half Marathon 24 September 2023.

The Calamari Festival is open all weekend as follows:

Friday, 22 September 15H00 – 23H30

Saturday, 23 September 10H00 – 23H30

Sunday, 24 September 10H30 – 15H30

Where can I get tickets?

Tickets for the 2023 Tops Calamari Festival are on sale via Quicket and at the door.


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