Plan for first food festival in Wetherby

Crepe Escape who will attend the first Wetherby Food Festival. (S)
Crepe Escape who will attend the first Wetherby Food Festival. (S)

Wetherby is to stage its first food festival this summer.

Ambitious plans have been announced for the two-day event, to be held at the Ings on July 12 and 13, which organisers hope will attract thousands of visitors.

Organiser Julie Sowden explained the reason for staging the festival: “The Wetherby area is absolutely fantastic for this kind of thing.

“We saw from the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Wetherby how it brought a lot of the community together.

“It has given us the confidence that Wetherby can easily support this kind of thing and we also believe it will attract people from further afield.” Mrs Sowden, who has traded at such events and markets, said that demonstrations by some of the region’s finest hotel chefs are planned to take place over the two days in the large tent which will be equipped with fitted kitchen, TV cameras, screens and seating for up to 250 people.

And she and business partner Jonathan Brown have signed up over 100 food-based stallholders who will sell high-quality hot and cold food from around the world.

“It is just phenomenal how many people have been contacting us to become involved.

“We started planning it at the end of last summer and it started gathering momentum straight away.” She added: “Interest in street food is on the increase and we will have a wide variety of stallholders.

“We are really, really thrilled by how many people have already got on board.”

The pair are planning more than just food to draw in crowds to the Ings, which they say is the ideal location for a summer weekend festival.

“We will have musicians, street artists and demonstration tents as well as a vintage fun fair,” added Mrs Sowden.

Cindy Bentley , chairman of Welcome to Wetherby, set up to promote the town around the region, said: “I think it’s a great idea. The Food Festival in Malton attracts hundreds of visitors into the town.

“I hope that the Wetherby one is just as successful and becomes an annual event.

“It’s what we need to put Wetherby firmly on the map.”

Mrs Sowden confirmed that organisers were aiming to make the Wetherby Food Festival an annual event.