The right ingredients for success

People packed into Alnwick Market Place for the event.

People packed into Alnwick Market Place for the event.

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Success was on the menu at Alnwick Food Festival, with more than 30,000 people pouring into the town for the culinary showcase.

The celebration of local produce was staged on Saturday and Sunday and was complemented by warm autumn sunshine.

Chris Hume during his chef demonstration.

Chris Hume during his chef demonstration.

Such was the popularity of the event, some of the traders had sold out their entire weekend’s worth of stock by early afternoon on the opening day.

The festival, coordinated by Local Living, certainly had all of the ingredients to make it a crowd-pleaser.

There were chef demonstrations, a range of stalls, street entertainment and a Prosecco bar.

Running alongside the food festival was the Alnwick Beer Festival, which was organised by Alnwick and District Round Table.

Alnwick and District Round Table organised the beer festival. Picture by Bartle Rippon

Alnwick and District Round Table organised the beer festival. Picture by Bartle Rippon

Festival chairman Philip Angier said: “Our emphasis this year was about local food and local talents – in our choice of chefs and in the increased involvements of local community organisations around the event.

“We were rewarded with terrific support from local people attending the event.

“Although part of the aim of the festival is to promote the town as a tourist destination, we know that almost all of those attending over the weekend live within a 30-mile radius of Alnwick.

“Our long-term aim must be to encourage them to support the town, its market and its local food businesses, even when there isn’t a festival happening.”

A young lad with his face painted. Picture by Bartle Rippon

A young lad with his face painted. Picture by Bartle Rippon

More than 80 traders, stallholders and exhibitors attended the festival over the weekend, while more than 40 staff and volunteers helped to deliver the event.

It certainly proved to be a welcome boost to businesses. Jannick Genouw, of A Taste of Northumbria in the Market Place, said: “Thanks to the crowds attracted by the Alnwick Food Festival, our sales on Saturday were the best we have had since our business opened.

“The event was a great advert for the town.”

During the festival, Outlook, on Bondgate Without, built the temporary kitchen for the demonstrations in the Northumberland Hall and had a stall to promote the Outcook Home Cookery School.

The Barnacre Alpacas proved a hit. Picture by Bartle Rippon

The Barnacre Alpacas proved a hit. Picture by Bartle Rippon

Leanne Havelin, from Outcook, said: “The Food Festival is such a good opportunity to make more people aware of where we are located and to join in a local celebration of great cooking.”

The chef demonstrations were sponsored by Alnwick’s Aldi store and those to showcase their skills included Chris Hume, of Alnwick’s Tavern Steakhouse and Lodge, and Simon Walsh, from Longsands Fish Kitchen in Tynemouth.

Entertainment came from fire-eater Charlie Carpenter, Alun Young from Sunsett Balloons, the Barnacre Alpacas, Animals about Town petting farm and the ever-popular face-painter.

The event’s Facebook page and Twitter account have seen a big increase in followers, helping to boosting attendance over the weekend.

Summing up the festival, Melanie Corn, marketing and promotions officer for Alnwick Markets, said the event had surpassed expectation, there was a great atmosphere and feedback was positive.

The stalls proved popular with festival-goers. Picture by Bartle Rippon

The stalls proved popular with festival-goers. Picture by Bartle Rippon

Paul Short, from Pauls Private Dining, during a cooking demonstration. Picture by Bartle Rippon

Paul Short, from Pauls Private Dining, during a cooking demonstration. Picture by Bartle Rippon