October 23, 2016
Photos: Crowd of 25,000 heads to ninth Burnham-On-Sea Food Festival

Thousands of people filled the streets of Burnham-On-Sea on Saturday for the town's ninth Food & Drink Festival which has been hailed a big success by traders and organisers.

Over 120 traders showcased the best of Somerset food and drink at the festival alongside displays that included cookery demonstrations, tractors and farm animals.

Co-organiser Bev Milner Simonds told the total footfall had been 25,134 during the day, as recorded by several footfall counters.

"I was really pleased to see Burnham-On-Sea out into some quite chilly sunshine and enjoy some great local food and drink in the heart of the town centre," she said.

"I saw so many happy smiling faces today - people having a family day out being in the town, popping into shops, buying things, exploring, meeting up with friends and having a great time."

"We had a slow start - it was a cold morning - but the numbers of visitors really picked up in the middle of the day."

Sedgemoor District Council's Chairman, Cllr Ian Dyer, added: "It was another superb event - the quality of the stalls was exceptional. It was so good to see such a wide range of different food sellers as well."

And James Heappey, Burnham's MP, said he was "delighted" to see the town so busy with many visitors, praising the organisers for all their work.

Traders at the festival also reported a busy day. Jack Pike at Beat Ales said: "It's been a really busy day and good fun - we had lots of passing trade and sold out by 3pm. We sold over 200 bottles and dozens of pints of beer - we'll certainly be back next time."

Mike Smith from Burnham's Mikes Pork added: "It's been a really great day - we were very busy with trade all day. I had not seen so many people at this event and but still good trade - Roll the next festival in May."

Harry Calvert, who won best in show for his Ginger Beards Preserves stall, added: "We are delighted to win this award on our second visit - it was a very good day - we had steady business and plenty of interest."

Riverford's Patrick Blandford added: "It was very busy in the middle of the day. We picked up several new customers and are happy with how it went - the festival is very well organised."

Businesses in Burnham's town centre reported a day of mixed trade, with several saying they'd been busier than normal while others felt the festival had taken away customers on what would normally be a busy half-term holiday weekend.

Visitors to the festival were able to sample and buy a wide selection of products from cheese, bread, chutneys and meats to cakes, chocolates, wines and pies.

The outdoor markets were also full of the best street-food traders - from jerk chicken and low and slow BBQ to Japanese noodles, Russian kebabs and vegan treats.

At the Fresh Ideas Demo Stage, sponsored by Burnham's KDS Interiors, the organisers brought together six popular cooking talents to demonstrate their skills. They included Manvenna Walia, founder of Somerset Curry Club, with spicy Indian flavours; Justin Reeves & Liam Finnegan's cookery aimed at sharing the tips from award-winning kitchens; Apprentice contestant Alana Spencer (pictured below with Ben Fotre and Dan Shahin of UnitedQ).

A new attraction to this festival was the new Young Makers Market which offered creative entrepreneurs aged 16-24 the chance to trade for free at the festival and get free business, finance and design advice. Several youngsters from King Alfred in Highbridge were among those taking part.

Among the other entertainment were buskers, a magician, children's rides, a traditional Punch & Judy show, a face painter, entertainers and a children's play area co-ordinated by St Andrew's Church, plus giant tractors, lambs from Plotgate, ducks and turkeys.

The Bridgwater Harley Davidson Owner's Club also parked up along the High Street - by the hog roast - to display their bikes.


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