Food festival serves up market to support local artists and groups

Richard Knapper of Snapper Photography.
Richard Knapper of Snapper Photography.

A craft and community market will add extra spice to the varied menu on offer at this year’s Alnwick Food Festival.

The market, showcasing local artists and community groups, will be located on Bondgate Within on Sunday, September 18, from 10am to 4pm.

Food festival chairman Philip Angier believes it is an important part of the event.

He said: “Remaining rooted in our local community is really important to the ethos of the food festival. So we are making the most of the opportunity to showcase local artists and local community groups during the food festival.”

As part of the craft and community market, a pop-up gallery will feature work from local artists including Helen Stuart, Irene Hilsdon, Pam Vardy and the craft talents of Becky Davies’ UniquEco Designs. Watercolourist Helen Stuart is delighted to be part of the pop-up gallery.

She said: “It is such a good venue for selling our work. To be part of the craft market at the food festival provides an ideal and accessible setting and will contribute towards more recognition for local art.”

Also featured at the Sunday market will be the work of the Castleside Crafters, which is a group of dedicated volunteers who make and sell beautiful handicrafts to raise money for Hospice Care North Northumberland, which has centres in Alnwick and Berwick.

Emma Arthur, event and community fund-raiser, said: “The hospice must raise £460,000 each year to sustain its vital services. We are always pleased to be part of local events like the food festival to raise our profile and to contribute to or fund-raising.”

Other community organisations with a presence on the Sunday include SHAK, Alnwick Community Centre and Friends of the Earth.

A representative from Friends of the Earth said: ”We are very pleased to be part of the food festival’s Sunday programme.

“We cannot celebrate food without considering the sustainability of our own lifestyles. We all rely on bees and other insects to pollinate our crops. Birds and mammals also complete the web of life. Many species are in decline, but there are simple ways in which each of us can help look after nature.”

The food festival is an excellent occasion for raising awareness and attracting new members. Reminding us of our coastal links, the Alnmouth Rowing Club skiff and Coastguard Rescue Service vehicle are especially popular with younger visitors.

Paul Sparrow, of the Coastguard Rescue Service, said: “We are recruiting volunteers for our teams across Northumberland from Berwick and Holy Island to Blyth. Volunteers are trained in first aid, search techniques and water rescue.

“They perform a vital service and we are delighted to have a presence at the food festival to raise awareness about what we do.”

The food festival takes place on Saturday, September 17, and Sunday, September 18, with some 50 food stalls and a full programme of chef demonstrations on both days.

A prosecco bar is being installed during the event, open from 10am to 4pm on both days, while the Bari Tea Brewery in Narrowgate will be hosting its fifth mini tea festival, staged from 10am to 4pm on the Saturday and 11am to 4pm on the Sunday.

The Alnwick Beer Festival, organised by Alnwick and District Round Table, will run alongside the food festival, which will feature a variety of stalls in the Market Place and a range of family entertainment.