The final weekend of June is dedicated to the shrimp. It is an annual tribute to the sea and to our shrimp fishers. On the menu are two days of festivities with a folklore market, a procession by the fishers on horseback, shrimp fishing, the Belgian Shrimp Peeling Championship, the Blessing of the Sea and of course, the Shrimp Parade.

Five highlights of the Shrimp Festival

  • Try authentic shrimp soup: be seduced by the aroma of shrimp soup in the folklore market. On duty as chefs are members of The Royal Order of the Horseback Fisherman.
  • See the shrimp fishers on horseback: they go out to catch shrimps with members of shrimp fisher associations and hundreds of children. The shrimps are cooked and sold afterwards and are truly delicious.
  • Meet Mariette Crevette and the new Mieke Garnaal and her honorary ladies: in late June, they will shine just a little bit more. Mariette Crevette will deliver a musical tribute to the horseback fishermen.
  • Take part in the Blessing of the Sea: together with the horseback fishermen, shrimp fisher associations, folklore groups, rescue services and anyone who lives and works near the sea.
  • Enjoy the Shrimp Parade: a procession of floats, marching bands and shrimp fishers dressed in traditional costumes who parade through the streets of Oostduinkerke.

Tij-dingen: Is the Shrimp Festival a special day for the horseback fishermen?

Eddy D'Hulster: "Definitely. I’ve taken part over 50 times. It’s a weekend where the horseback fishermen get to show their passion and dedication to the general public. On Saturday there’s the shrimp fishing competition and on Sunday there’s the parade of the knights of the sea through the throngs of spectators.”

Eddy D'Hulster

Nele Bekaert: “It’s a celebration for everyone. There’s a great atmosphere from Saturday morning to Sunday evening. The horseback fishers play a key role because we are the crowd-pullers.”

What is your fondest memory of the Shrimp Festival?

Nele: “My first parade was special as I didn't know what to expect. I had accompanied the procession every year (with the folk dance group Zannekin or with the shrimp fishers association De Slepers) or else I watched from the sidelines. However, being there as a horseback fisher really adds an extra dimension. People really look forward to seeing those huge shire horses.”

Nele Bekaert

Eddy: “It’s a chance for us to exchange stories about the last fishing season and to exaggerate a little about the number of kilos and size of our catches. (laughs)"

Shrimp Festival 2024: 29 and 30 June