30,000 people flock to return of Highcliffe Food and Arts Festival
THE return of Highcliffe Food and Arts Festival after a two-year break was "hugely successful" with around 30,000 people attending, organisers said.
The two-day event impressed the crowds with a packed line-up of music, children’s entertainment and cookery theatres.
The event, last held in 2019, included more than 140 traders selling artisan food and drink, along with a huge variety of crafts.
It filled the village's high street and part of the recreation ground on Saturday and Sunday.
There was also a chef’s demonstration tent with celebrities including Michelin-starred Jean-Christophe Novelli and Dorset-based Lesley Waters.
Mary Reader, founder director of the festival, told the A&T: "It was hugely successful. Our numbers easily doubled and we estimated we had around 30,000 attend over the weekend. We had two days of sun, so we were lucky.
"I have been inundated with people saying they enjoyed it so much. There has been lots of lovely comments left on social media too. One couple said they travelled 150 miles from the Midlands to attend."
She added: "Stall sales were very good and the festival obviously supports traders in the village as well – which was one of the main reasons for starting the festival, to support the centre.
"Our celebrity chefs did a great job – they really entertained the crowds. It was wonderful to see local schools getting involved on the music stage and with a painting competition, which was displayed at the festival."
Mary added: "Everyone has worked really hard and been dedicated and passionate. It has taken a huge amount of work over the last nine months – I really would like to pay tribute and thank our volunteers, the God First Church, the Rotary and all our family and friends."