Great Yarmouth shops set to be invaded by fishy visitors

COVERED in cupcakes, gleaming with metallic garnishes and draped with vivid designs - a set of fishy characters are soon set to be popping up across Great Yarmouth.

A shoal of brightly decorated herrings will be swimming their way into shops and businesses as part of the town's first ever Arts Festival, and visitors will be encouraged to take a tour to spot as many of the underwater invaders as possible.

Festival organisers have teamed up with Great Yarmouth College to organise the herring trail and students have been busy decorating 40 cut outs of the fish synonymous with Yarmouth history, which will soon be appearing throughout the town.

Shops have already started to sign up to the trail and the four foot tall fish will go on display in the next few weeks and remain on show throughout the festival's run from September 1 - 22.

Great Yarmouth has a rich history with the herring as millions were exported during its fishing heyday, to countries as far as Russia. To preserve the aquatic cargo many were smoked and came to be known as the Yarmouth bloater.

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Hugh Sturzaker, chairman of the event, said: 'Great Yarmouth history is based on the herring and the bloater so I thought that might be rather appropriate, and not only does it raise interest in the festival but also helps the local shopkeepers.'

The fishy visitors have been individually decorated and covered in a variety of materials, ranging from newspaper print to netting and mosaic style stones, to cut-out cartoon characters.

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Some will also have poetry snippets attached to them detailing Yarmouth's famous faces.

'I think they'll be eye-catching and hopefully people will go out looking for them,' Mr Sturzaker added.

Each of the herrings will be numbered and forms will be available in upcoming editions of the Mercury for people to fill in as they spot them, with a prize going to the most beady eyed competitor who seeks out the most.

At the end of the festival the herrings will be auctioned off with profits going to the James Paget Hospital's Palliative Care East Appeal.

Shops, businesses and traders interested in displaying a herring, for a hire fee of �10, should contact Jeanne Henderson on 01493 663831.

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