Feasts not famine as food festival called off

The crowds enjoying the food festival last year. Photo: Mark Williamson

THIS year’s food festival in Stratford town centre is off the menu but another celebration of all that’s good to eat and drink will be extended to compensate.

There will be little surprise the popular event which sees the town centre crowded with stalls and visitors has been dropped but organisers at Stratforward have got dates in the diary for next year.

Instead Stratford Feasts which was launched in October last year and ran again in February this year will put the spotlight on the town’s food and drink offering.  The aim of the feasts is to promote the variety of places to eat and drink out and highlight special menus, promotions and options.

This time it will be extended and details will be released next month.

Stratforward marketing and events manager Tor Wilkes said: “It’s with great sadness we are announcing that we are not running our annual food festival, which is traditionally an excellent time to celebrate and get an overview of Stratford’s fantastic food scene.

 “Usually the Food Festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors into Stratford. The Taste and Ale Trails are especially popular – you get a chance to try food or ale in more than eight venues for a small sum.

“The free demonstrations in the cookery theatre are always well attended.  They give an insight into the kitchens and personalities of many venues and provide inspiration. There are many stalls of food and drink producers with a strong local flavour.

“The event was cancelled due to the pandemic, though all options were considered.”

But she was upbeat about the role Feasts would play: “Stratford town centre has over 110  fabulous places to eat and drink and many will be highlighted during Stratford Feasts.

“It will be a great opportunity to experience Stratford’s food and drink scene and offer support to the many venues doing their best in these trying times.

“The festival is set to return on 18th and 19th September in 2021 so please put it in your diary.”

In the meantime she said more than 50 places in Stratford were taking part in the government’s  Eat Out to Help Out scheme, offering a discount on food and soft drinks on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August.

You can see a full list of businesses taking part on the Eat Out to Help Out section of the gov.uk website