Christchurch Food Festival back after Covid forced cancellation last year
CHRISTCHURCH Food Festival will be back for the August bank holiday weekend with hopes to be better than ever after the pandemic forced its cancellation last year.
The event is normally held in May and was postponed due to the coronavirus – but the organisers said not going ahead in 2021 was "not a option."
A spokesperson said: "This year is set to be our best yet. Last year saw the first break in its history due to the pandemic so we are delighted to be bringing the event back this August in a safe and secure environment.
"The idea of postponing for a second year and the effect it would have on traders, suppliers, freelance event staff and the local community was not an option."
Launched in 2000 the festival, which is free to attend, has attracted total crowds of up to 60,000 in the past.
Working with BCP Council and Christchurch Town Council, organisers have ensured that Covid-19 precautions have been undertaken so that the festival can go ahead safely.
It has been awarded a We’re Good to Go mark which signals that a tourism and hospitality business has worked to follow government and industry guidelines and has processes in place for cleanliness and social distancing.
One major change this year is that the festival will only take place on the quay and not in the high street, so that people will have more space to enjoy it.
A new addition is a pop-up eatery featuring produce from Christchurch's Sopley farm.
Award-winning Terroir Tapas and the Larder House will be featuring "fire fuelled, farm sourced" food on their menu at the Farm Food restaurant.
Their first collaboration opens on 20th-25th August before starting up again for the three-day bank holiday festival from 28th-30th August.
Masterminding the operation will be founder of the eateries, James Fowler, a world class chef and bartender.
Tables of up to eight can be booked for a two-hour slot at the restaurant run 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 has a jam-packed programme of chef demos and live entertainment as well as the ever-popular foodie farmer’s market.
Among local chefs appearing will be TV celebrity Rosemary Schrager, James Golding from the Pig Hotel group who will be pairing up with good friend Druve Baker, and Alex Aitken from Christchurch's The Jetty restaurant.
Visitors this year will be able to sample a huge variety of food and drink from local producers, many of whom are members of Dorset Food and Drink and Hampshire Fare.
Introduced for the first time this year is a sheep show where visitors will be able to learn about different breeds of sheep, such as Nobby the Norfolk Horn, watch a live sheep shearing demo, and learn how wool is turned into a jumper.
There will even be a demonstration of sheep dancing.
Live music on the bandstand and a special stage will provide entertainment throughout the weekend.
The festival supports the Christchurch Food Festival Education Trust which promotes healthy eating in local schools.
There is also a special visitors deal with Yellow Buses to encourage people to travel to the festival by public transport.
Reservations for the pop-up restaurant can be booked online at bit.ly/3yQUSDF
This article was amended on 23rd August 2021 to remove an incorrect reference to Onyx Events having been involved with the Lymington Food Festival which is run solely by Lighthouse Marketing. In fact, Onyx Events was behind the pop-up restaurants in September last year at the Bath Road recreation ground in Lymington. Apologies for the error.