Lancaster food weekend serves up boost for economy

Crowds browsing a meat stall at last year's Lancaster Food Festival.
Crowds browsing a meat stall at last year's Lancaster Food Festival.
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Food and drink fanatics will pour into Lancaster this bank holiday.

Lancaster Food Festival organisers aim to tempt 12,000 people through the doors this Sunday and Monday (May 4 and 5) – 2,000 more than last year’s foodie gathering.

Sixty traders selling everything from wood fired pizzas to sticky toffee puddings will display their wares at Lancaster Leisure Park.

Park-based Lancaster Brewery will co-ordinate the event, which includes the launch of a new range of speciality sausages by Porcus farm at Todmorden – made with popular Brewery ales Lancaster Red and Lancaster Blonde.

The Food Festival is becoming firmly established on Lancaster’s calendar and gradually becoming a must-attend event, attracting visitors from Yorkshire, Cheshire and the Lakes, with many staying, and spending, in the city and district.

Exhibitors come from far and wide too, with artisan breads from Darwen, paella from Sandbach and smoked chicken from Anglesey sitting alongside local producers like Baxters Shrimps of Morecambe and The Cornish Bakery in Lancaster.

Organisers expect that this year’s free admission, combined with hoped-for good weather, will pull in the extra numbers.

“Last year it was £1 and you wouldn’t expect that people would mind paying that but many did,” said Gemma Ritchie from Lancaster Brewery.

“We’ve been able to pull in more exhibitors and make cost savings by not having a demonstration tent this year and co-ordinating the event ourselves rather than using a third party.”

Jimmy Blackburn, whose family runs GB Antiques showroom and also owns the park, said organisers’ main concern was the clash with events in Morecambe this weekend.

“We are a little bit nervous about how Morecambe Carnival is going to affect us on the Sunday but I don’t see any reason why people can’t come to both as we start early at 10am,” he said. “This event is helping put us on the map.”

The Food Festival runs until 4pm each day.