2017 Alnwick Food Festival once again drew large crowds to the town centre with a varied menu of sweet and spicy treats, hot food and magical entertainment
“The Alnwick Food Festival was one of the first to be established in the North East, and thirteen years on we are proud that it is still one of the best,” says Philip Angier, Festival Chair. “The weather was blustery, and a bit cold compared with previous years, but our loyal following didn’t disappoint. Some traders sold out completely on Saturday. Many others reported takings over the week-end above their expectations.
It’s a big undertaking and we are very grateful to our staff team and all of the volunteers who put in long hours to make the event possible. All of that effort is rewarded when we see the Market Place thronged and so many people of all ages having fun.
We’ll be back next year on 22nd and 23rd September 2018.”
Read some of the comments and reviews we have received:-
Piotr Herman from the Armenian the Family Street Bar, one of the most popular food stalls said: “I like the town of Alnwick. It has heart and atmosphere. This is our first time trading at Alnwick Food Festival and I am very pleased that so many people have enjoyed our traditional Lavash flatbreads.”
Lisa Matthews a regular patron of the Festival posted this comment on Facebook: “Amazing food and amazing atmosphere, so much for the kids to look at and try as well! I’ve been every year and it just gets better and better! Disney princess’s there on Saturday, magician and steel band there on Sunday! Birds of prey were beautiful and my daughter was so happy she held the owl.”
Silver Sheldon of Hadrians Game Larder added: “Having been to this event as a punter for a few years we now attend as stall holders. The kids have all loved the entertainment. The stalls are always inspiring. This year my son even got the opportunity to dress up as Alf the mascot. The atmosphere is always friendly no matter what happens with the weather, Alnwick Food Festival is a top attraction.”
Mel Corn, Marketing & Promotions Officer says “ It was two days of family fun, entertainment and delicious food. Tourism plays a big part in Alnwick so it was fantastic to receive great support from the business community and local community groups as we all seek to raise the profile of the town. Some of the smaller independent businesses went the extra mile in helping to promote the Food Festival, and showed what we can achieve when we work together.”
Another innovation was the programme of Talk & Taste sessions offering a more inter-active style of chef demonstration. One of these sessions on the Saturday was led by chocolatier, Bev Stephenson from North Chocolates. She said, “Huge thanks for this weekend. I had a really smashing time, it was a fabulous atmosphere, as always really well organised and it was a pleasure to do the demonstration.”
Social media played an important part in publicising the event. Tracy Spriggs of Northumberland EATS said, “As a local person it was great to be involved with the promotion of Alnwick and the Food Festival through our website and social media channels. The Talk and Taste Events were a welcome addition to the weekend. Many enjoyed Alnwick Cocktail Hour, hosted by mixologist Sophie Hall.. Alnwick is a great town and deserves to have such a successful established Food Festival. Here’s to many more”
Kathryn Archibald, attending her first Alnwick Food Festival said: “The Festival is a celebration of authentic, artisan food and crafts which, combined with the music and entertainers create a friendly atmosphere for everyone involved. It is a pleasure to be part of a successful community event.”
With more than 50 stalls and hot food concessions, a rolling programme of chef demonstrations and entertainment, not to mention the regular Saturday market in Bondgate Within which was attended by a number of local charity organisations, organising the Food Festival is a major logistical effort. Dawn Watts, Festival Manager says: “I’m really proud of the job done by our regular staff, extra helpers and volunteers. It’s quite an undertaking to set up and safely run an event attended by up to 30,000 people over a week-end. We’ve had great support from Northumberland County Council’s local services. It’s very rewarding to see customers crowding around the stalls and visitors and traders alike sharing their love of locally sourced food and drink.”
The Festival finale was a charity cream tea in the Northumberland Hall in aid of HospiceCare North Northumberland. Rebecca Taylor from HospiceCare said, “We were very pleased to be partnered with the Food Festival this year and a cream tea seemed a lovely note on which to end such a busy week-end. So many local businesses have been generous in their support. Our Castleside Crafters also had a very successful craft stall on the Market on Saturday. It is very heartening to be so well supported by the community. Thank you everyone, and especially the Food Festival Committee.”