Bishop Auckland Food Festival returned to its original spring date this year and was a roaring success, as people travelled from County Durham and beyond to celebrate all things food.
The Durham County Council-run festival saw record-breaking visitor numbers this weekend, as 30,000 people flocked to the town’s centre to try an abundance of different dishes from local traders, accompanied by an eclectic mix of family entertainment from musicians and performers.
Cooking enthusiasts had the chance to watch a star-studded line up of top TV chefs and bakers who demonstrated their skills in the outdoor cookery theatre, hosted by TV presenter Chris Bavin.
The cookery line up included TV chef and presenter John Whaite; Great British Bake Off favourites Crystelle Pereira, Karen Wright and Chigs Parmar; Matt Pritchard, also known as Dirty Vegan; MasterChef The Professional’s finalist Philli Armitage-Mattin; and Bishop Auckland’s own celebrity chef and MasterChef contestant Mike Bartley.
Some visitors also got to experience the luxury of fine dining with a special event hosted by Mike, who provided a gourmet four-course evening menu at Bishop Auckland Town Hall, created from local ingredients.
With more than 150 traders using the weekend as a chance to meet new customers and share their fantastic goods, from street food and delicious desserts to artisan produce and locally brewed beverages, the festival provided a significant boost to businesses trading both at the festival and in the town itself.
This year the festival was also a key part of County Durham’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025, showcasing how people can get involved in culture through food.
Liza Johnson, owner of the Tea Enthusiasts, said: “It’s been amazing. I always love coming to Bishop Auckland Food Festival because of the range and variety of produce that they have here and the sheer number of traders. If you want to know what produce County Durham has to offer, this is the place to find out.
“The festival is also a great opportunity for local and independent traders to build their customer base and benefit from the thousands of visitors it attracts.”
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “It has been fantastic to welcome back visitors and traders once again to Bishop Auckland for two whole days of fun, food and entertainment. This year we’re delighted to have returned to our regular spring date, kicking off the county’s festival season with an explosion of flavour.
“Events like Bishop Auckland Food Festival are also a key part of County Durham’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025, demonstrating the power of culture to bring people together and enhance the vibrancy of our communities.
“We hope everyone has had a fantastic weekend and I want to thank our traders and celebrity guests, the festival’s supporter and sponsors, and all the staff and volunteers for their hard work and efforts to make this weekend happen.”
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