CHRISTCHURCH Food Festival will return for the August bank holiday weekend with hopes of being better than ever after the pandemic forced its cancellation last year.
The event normally takes place in May and has been postponed due to the coronavirus – but organizers have said not moving forward in 2021 was “not an option”.
A spokesperson said: “This is expected to be the best year yet. Last year saw the first hiatus in its history due to the pandemic, so we are delighted to bring the event back to August in an environment safe and secure.
“The idea of postponing for a second year and the effect it would have on traders, vendors, independent event staff and the local community was not an option.”
Launched in 2000, the festival, which is free, has attracted up to 60,000 spectators in the past.
Working with the BCP Council and Christchurch City Council, the organizers ensured that Covid-19 precautions were taken so that the festival could run safely.
It was awarded a We’re Good to Go mark which indicates that a tourism and hospitality company has worked to follow government and industry guidelines and has cleanliness and social distancing processes in place.
A major change this year is that the festival will only be held on the platform and not on the main street, so people have more space to enjoy it.
A new addition is a pop-up restaurant featuring produce from Christchurch’s Sopley Farm.
Award-winning Terroir Tapas and The Larder House will feature ‘fire-fueled, farm-produced’ foods on their menu at the Farm Food Restaurant.
Their first collaboration opens on August 20-25 before leaving for the three-day festival from August 28 to 30.
The director of the operation will be the founder of the restaurants, James Fowler, a world-class chef and bartender.
Tables of up to eight can be reserved for a two hour slot at the restaurant managed by Onyx Events.
Dishes on the Farm Food menu will include charred Sopley Sweetcorn with Fermented Dorset Blueberries or Dorset Salted Butter, and Poole Bay Oysters.
This year’s festival features a packed program of chef demonstrations and live entertainment, as well as the ever popular gourmet farmers market.
Among the local chefs appearing will be TV celebrity Rosemary Schrager, James Golding of the Pig Hotel group who will team up with good friend Druve Baker, and Alex Aitken of The Jetty restaurant in Christchurch.
This year visitors will be able to sample a wide variety of foods and drinks from local producers, many of whom are members of Dorset Food and Drink and Hampshire Fare.
Introduced for the first time this year, a sheep show allows visitors to experience different breeds of sheep, such as Nobby the Norfolk Horn, watch a live sheep shearing demonstration, and learn how wool is made into a sweater. .
There will even be a sheep dance demonstration.
Live music on the bandstand and a special stage will liven up the weekend.
The festival supports the Christchurch Food Festival Education Trust which promotes healthy eating in local schools.
There is also a special offer for visitors with yellow buses to encourage people to get to the festival by public transport.
Reservations for the pop-up restaurant can be booked online at bit.ly/3yQUSDF
This article was modified on August 23, 2021 to remove an incorrect reference to Onyx Events having been involved in the Lymington Food Festival which is operated solely by Lighthouse Marketing. In fact, Onyx Events was originally pop-up restaurants in September last year at the Bath Road Recreation Ground in Lymington. Sorry for the mistake.