A scrumptious seafood trail, have a go fishing demos and music from a French shanty group are among the entertainment being served up at this year’s Crab and Lobster festival.

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The fifth annual event, which will concentrate on highlighting the seafaring heritage of Cromer and Sheringham, was launched this week as organisers announced some of the highlights of the programme - and revealed the theme for the 2014’s art trail.

Miniature fibreglass crab boat planters will form the centrepiece of the Bootiful Boat Art Trail, which businesses, schools, community groups and individuals are now being urged to get involved with.

Following on from the popular lifebuoy, deckchair and windbreak themes, sponsors will be provided with a plain white boat planter to decorate and then display in shop windows across the two towns, forming the art trail that runs from Easter to August.

Tony Shipp, festival chairman, said: “There’s so many options; people can put a superstructure inside with masts, sails or a cabin. I think they’re going to capture the imagination.

“And they’re practical in the sense they can be used as planters after the event. I’m hoping they will be very popular.”

Cromer and Sheringham’s foodie delights will also form a new attraction, as the Scrumptious Seafood Trail will take visitors on a tour of eateries offering a special festival seafood dish.

Organisers are keen to get food outlets more involved in the fun and are now encouraging restaurants, cafes and pubs to sign up to the trail, which will also run from Easter to August.

Other tasty events will include crab dressing competitions and cookery demonstrations.

And the East of England Co-Operative Society will be adding to the foodie overtones as the festival’s headline sponsor.

Mr Shipp said he was thrilled to have the Co-Op on board as his committee aim to put on the most successful festival yet.

“We are delighted to start the year on such a positive note,” he added. “The Bootiful Boat Art Trail is a great way for visitors to explore the area and see what north Norfolk has to offer, and it’s a great way for businesses to get creative.

“In addition the Scrumptious Seafood Trail will mean visitors and residents can sample some of the wonderful seafood the area has to offer throughout cafes, pubs, restaurants and bistros.”

Other entertainment across the three-day festival, which runs from May 16 - 17, will include fishing craft demonstrations, comedy, film, heritage events and music.

The festival will be kick started with an opening concert at Cromer Pier’s Pavilion Theatre. Hosted by entertainer Olly Day it will feature music from the Sheringham Shantymen and French shanty group La Grosse Erreur.

Festival secretary Kate Royall said: “In 2013 the festival achieved enormous successes. Over 20,000 people enjoyed the weekend and thousands more followed the art trail.

“We hope this year’s festival, with an expanded programme of free events, will achieve the same success and bring more people to this fabulous area.”

■ The first 50 boats are now available for decorating, for a sponsorship fee of £60. For more information about the boats, seafood trail, volunteering at the festival and other opportunities visit www.crabandlobsterfestival.co.uk or call 07775 337201.

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