FOOD lovers flocked back to the Leamington Food and Drink Festival at the weekend a year after it had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
The Pump Room Gardens in Leamington saw visitors all enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the festival – which featured around 110 food and drink exhibitors.
Visitors to the outdoor festival – organised by BID Leamington with the support of local businesses – enjoyed the many different stalls serving global cuisine, as well as live music throughout from the bandstand and attractions such as the Kids Cookery School run by Get Cooking.
Plenty of visitors were treated to top chefs showing their skills at live cooking demonstrations, and were wowed by some of the best amateur chefs in Warwickshire during the Home Cook of the Year competition held on the Sunday.
Many were glad to be back enjoying a thriving outdoor festival after Covid restrictions meant events like the Leamington Food Festival could not happen last year.
Suzi Spencer regularly visits the festival and came this year with her partner Felix and their two children.
She heralded Leamington Food Festival as one of the best of its kind, adding: “It’s been a really good day. It’s been so nice with the sunshine, and the amount of people here is wonderful to see.
“We’ve been to a few different food festivals, and I think this one has the most variety, plus it helps that you do not have to pay for entry like at many others.”
And Rute Pereira, originally from Portugal and who has lived in Leamington for six years, loved being back at the festival again with her family.
“We’ve been really missing this kind of event – we try to attend all of the events that are held here in Leamington.
“The Food Festival is almost like a family tradition – we always try to come. If we had something planned, we would change it just to come to the festival because it’s always very nice.
“We were saying how good it is to be back and to see people again, and it’s good for the businesses too.”
Organisers BID Leamington were delighted with the turnout over the two days, and were hopeful it was a sign of things to come.
Alison Shaw, BID Leamington project manager, said: “This weekend was absolutely fantastic. So many people turned out to enjoy all of the wonderful food and drink Leamington and the surrounding area has to offer.
“After a year away, we’re so grateful that so many supported the festival at the weekend and it was wonderful to see the town centre buzzing. It means so much to the exhibitors who have had such a tough time during the height of the pandemic, and we hope this support continues through people continuing to buy local as we head into autumn.
“We’re very happy with the success of this year’s festival, and already looking forward to next year.”