One Week and Counting…

With just under eight days to go until the Stratford Food Festival, it’s time for a roundup of what festivalgoers can expect at Stratford’s biggest and best foodie event.

The countdown has begun! (Image courtesy of lssacademy.com)

Yesterday saw the last of 1000 goodie bags kindly provided by Stratford Waitrose filled and packed by the Festival team, ready to be given out to the first 500 visitors to arrive at each day of the event. The gates will open at 10am, so make sure you get to the Racecourse venue early!

Over 120 exhibitors are now confirmed to attend, and our policy of limiting the number of similar products guarantees variety across all the outside spaces and indoor exhibition tents. A feature of this year’s Festival is a focus on local produce, so make sure to check out Exhibition Tent B, exclusively for exhibitors from the Stratford and Warwickshire area. Exhibition Tents A and C also contain a wealth of great produce, with many exhibitors from the midlands and more far-flung parts of the UK showcasing their wares for you to taste and buy. We’ll also have over 50 exhibitors setting up their own outside stands, selling everything from hot mains and desserts to strawberries, vodka, oysters, milkshakes and kitchen equipment.

Variety is the spice of life, so we’ve kept it varied! (Image courtesy of d19lgisewk9l6l.cloudfront.net)

On the food entertainment side there are two demonstration areas and an interactive workshop space. The Cookery Theatre promises demos from top local and national chefs, including Michelin-standard dishes, recipes inspired by Shakespeare, sourdough baking, Indian cookery, and our headline acts Paul Hollywood and Sophie Michell. Our Talk & Taste theatre includes butchery, wine tasting, cheesemaking, baking, healthy eating, cupcake-decorating, and British puddings, with many samples for your to try! For those wanting a more hands-on experience, the Interactive Workshop area can be found next to Exhibition Tent A, and includes Indian cookery, artisan baking, and beer tasting: numbers are strictly limited and some workshops have an additional charge.

To ensure a festival atmosphere throughout the weekend, the live music stage will be running all day with a selection of popular local bands as well as fantastic up-and-coming talent. Like our exhibitors, we’ve kept the music varied, so expect everything from covers of classic folk, pop and blues rock tracks to acoustic originals. You can find the music stage next to the Real Ale Bar and The One Elm hexagonal site: it’s the perfect place to sit down and soak up the atmosphere whilst tucking in to some delicious food and drink!

Burning Guitar Wallpaper

If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the music stage… (Image courtesy of hdwpapers.com)

Our prime site exhibitors this year are The One Elm pub and Havilands Vintage Café, both based in Stratford. The One Elm have a hexagonal tent behind Exhibition Tent C near the music stage, and will be offering a full bar (including Aspalls cyder) and a BBQ with succulent burgers supplied by award-winning butchers Aubrey Allen of Leamington Spa. Havilands will be laying on the full afternoon tea experience at the Festival, with a large permanent structure next to the Cookery Theatre: think vintage cream teas, hot and cold drinks, cakes, scones, teacakes and quiches! New for 2013 is a local Real Ale Bar, showcasing three fantastic producers based in Warwickshire: North Cotswold Brewery, Church Farm Brewery, and The Old Pie Factory Brewery. Find the Real Ale Bar in between the Cookery Theatre and the Music Stage.

Bringing the kids? No problem! We’ve got some great entertainment for them too! PG Leisure are providing a climbing wall, bungee trampoline, land train, bouncy castle and inflatable slide to get rid of that excess energy; Halona Horses are offering pony rides: fitting given the Racecourse location; and Midland Adventure are offering target shooting for older children. Don’t forget, under-16s can get into the Festival for FREE with an accompanying adult!

Being a kid is great, and even greater at the Stratford Food Festival! (Image courtesy of students.ou.edu)