Ely Eel Day

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Ely Eel Day
Observed by Inhabitants of Ely
Type Cultural, Historical
Celebrations parade, eel throwing competition
2015 date 2 May
2016 date 30 April
2017 date 29 April
Frequency annual

Ely Eel Day is an annual celebration observed by people from Ely, Cambridgeshire to celebrate the city's namesake — the eel. The celebrations start with a parade which begins from Cross Green outside Ely Cathedral and proceeds through the city to the Jubilee Gardens, passing by the Market Square and along the River Great Ouse at Ely's Waterside.[1]

The celebrations following the parade include an eel throwing competition. The competition does not use real eels. Originally competitors were given socks rolled into some tights with rice in the end to weight it down[2] but now the competition uses specially made toy eels. The winner of the 2015 Eel Throwing Championship was Jason Keogh of Attleborough, Norfolk, who threw his padded replica eel 16.1 metres.[3] Winner of the Under-16 category was 9-year-old Harry Thomas, with a throw of 12.8 metres.

Other events on Eel Day include an annual competition for Town Criers. The winner of the 2012 competition was Robert Needham from Colchester, who has won four times in six years.[3]

Eel Day is traditionally held on the Saturday, of the May Bank Holiday weekend.[4]


  1. ^ "Ely People - Eel Day Festival 2011". Elypeople.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  2. ^ Haines, Oscar (2007-04-29). "I defended my eel-throwing title!". Newsround Online (BBC). Retrieved 2007-05-01. 
  3. ^ a b "Ely People - Eel Day Festival 2012 Competition Results". Elypeople.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  4. ^ "elys_annual_eel_day". Arts Development East Cambridgeshire. Retrieved 2011-04-30. 

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