ONE of Colchester’s most famous events is set to go online after organisers were forced to make changes due to coronavirus.

It will be one of the few times in the Colchester Oyster Feast’s 175-year history it has not been held at the town hall.

Plans for this year’s feast have been put on hold due to coronavirus restrictions, and the occasion will instead be marked with a virtual celebration over the internet.

This is the first time since the event began in 1845 the feast has not taken place, other than during wartime.

Hundreds of invited guests and dignitaries normally gather at Colchester Town Hall for the October event which sees them enjoy speeches from special guests as well as sampling the borough’s famous oysters.

This year is also the first time details of the event, which usually takes place in the Moot Hall, will be available online.

A number of resources have been created so residents can join in from the comfort of their homes.

These include a video statement by the new mayor of Colchester, Robert Davidson, alongside a photograph of him being presented with a Native Oyster from Colchester Oyster Fishery, by the Town Serjeant.

Also included on the new dedicated webpage is a history of the oyster feast written by distinguished author and academic Andrew Phillips.

Photos and menus from years gone by and facts about the iconic Colchester Native Oysters, revered by the Romans, also feature.

Mr Davidson said: “While we must reluctantly forego the traditional pageantry of the oyster feast for something less sociable this year, I am delighted we can still mark the occasion and celebrate the borough’s rich history and heritage through the marvels of modern technology.

“I very much hope the public, be they residents or living further afield, will find the time to visit our special oyster feast webpage.”

Many of Colchester’s most important civic ceremonies have had to be cancelled or adapted this year due to coronavirus restrictions, including the mayor making ceremony earlier this month and next month’s Remembrance Day event.

The town’s alternative oyster feast, which brings pensioners together for a fish and chip lunch, has had to be cancelled due to coronavirus.

Organisers invite up to 100 pensioners to Greenstead Social Club for the party, which coincides with the town hall event.

Organisers said it was “regrettable” but they had taken the decision due to safety.

It plans to be back better and bigger next year.

Visit to find out more about the Oyster Feast or for updates on the borough’s civic events.