Nantwich Food Festival was a great success!
Nantwich had another successful Food Festival
The sun shone, the crowds arrived like never before and so Nantwich was again a foodie hub.
Thousands of happy visitors, 200 happy exhibitors and a town full of contented businesses can mean only one thing: that Nantwich had another successful Food Festival. After a pretty awful August, the weather was fine, bringing out friends and families from near and far.
The two huge food courts sponsored by Mornflake, Applewood Independent and Hall Smith Whittingham plus the town centre Boughey Market-style zone were, as usual very popular, selling a great, diverse range of food, drinks and gifts, with many exhibitors running out of produce due to capacity crowds. All the usual favourites were in evidence plus some new exhibitors and a good number of local ones too.
So what went on over the weekend? Karen Young, Chef Organiser says “The four celebrity chefs and all the talented, local chefs demonstrated their prowess, with such scrumptious recipes as Simon Rimmer’s pistachio cake with marinated strawberries and Jack Stein’s cod with kale and charred corn; there was standing room only for these and all the other celebrity chef demonstrations.
Watch out for their top tips, coming soon”
The Reaseheath Food Theatre also hosted such favourites as Reaseheath chefs, plus Chris Waling with his gluten free ‘Cakes by Noah’ and Babna, who showed us just how to make exquisite French desserts in her step by step approach. Many of the demos were accompanied by sign language interpretation in a new Festival initiative designed to improve inclusivity.
Karen also organised the Nantwich Bake-off, won by Emma Lowe, whose banana cake won her a hamper filled with goodies thanks to the generosity of the M&S Nantwich store.
Festival Director, Nanna Pedley organised the Cookalong, sponsored by The White Lion, Weston; this is where participants worked under the instruction of trained chefs to produce a meal, so it was great to see all sessions booked up. The Romazzino meatball Cookalong session for kids was incredibly popular with smiling faces all around. Plus there was huge demand for celebrity chef, Nigel Brown’s Thai Green Curry sessions, where he gave great individual attention, whilst the White Lion cocktail sessions were just so well-received.
The Whitegates sponsored Kids Marquee was a huge success; organiser and marquee manager, Laura thanks her team of volunteers saying “We were kept busy all weekend helping the children with crafts, marshmallow sculptures, making butterflies, gingerbread decorating, painting and much more. I want to thank all the businesses who worked with us plus local baker, Chatwins for their donation of the ‘naked’ gingerbread people.”
Other Festival entertainment was a treat for all, with fantastic brass bands – more than usual by popular request, stilt walkers, fire eaters, Punch and Judy, street entertainment and lots of fun activities for children and adults. Live music started on Friday and continued right through until the very end of the Festival, creating a great atmosphere at both The Hearing Centre Bowling Green music stage, as well as Snugburys Love Lane music stage. Many said it was the best live music ever heard at the Festival.
So, what did the visitors have to say? Alan from Swindon tells us ‘I want an award for travelling furthest! My first visit to Nantwich since lockdown and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.’
Other comments included:
‘Give yourselves a massive pat on the back for such a wonderful festival’; ‘It was fabulous to browse the food courts and meet all the great exhibitors’; ‘A brilliant day’; ‘Boy is this a popular food festival’; ‘Everyone so helpful and friendly’; 'Park & Ride so well organised’; ’Vibealicious!’; ‘Thank you and roll on next September!’
And from celebrity chef Jack Stein ‘Nantwich Food Festival is amazing and is 3 times bigger than the Padstow Christmas Festival! How do you do it?’
A very well-received Festival initiative was the quiet hour at the beginning of the Festival for those who wanted or needed a quieter environment to browse the stalls.
Also after the success of their first year, local company, Direct Access was again very much in evidence; their Calm Corner provided a quiet, food-free area for anyone with neurodivergent conditions, who need to avoid any sensory over-stimulation.
Overall a great success; Festival Chairwoman Chris Farrall says ”We would like to send a special huge thank you to both Nantwich Town Council and Cheshire East Council plus all the generous Festival Sponsors. Their continued support of the event enables it to take place every year for the benefit of Nantwich businesses, and to encourage visitors to return to the town to maintain its vibrancy."
Chris went on the say “Visitors particularly praised our move from a large brochure to a small pull-out version with QR code which showed all key festival features and events. We trialled this last year, but it was incredibly popular this year and of course meant less printing, distribution and associated costs plus much less waste, which fits in with our approach towards sustainability”.
The Festival sustainability manager spent lots of time talking to stallholders about ways that they and the Festival could reduce and manage waste as well as possible; she reports that most were very much in favour of the planned improvements.
Lastly and most importantly, Festival Director, Nanna Pedley says “We want to thank the local residents and businesses for their support and patience with the organisational and infrastructural demands of holding this event in the town itself. We do this every year to ensure that visitors experience the town, not just the Festival.”