Tag Archives: Paul Hollywood

Weather holds off and Paul Hollywood proves a sell-out at the new Food Festival venue Stratford Racecourse

More than 130 exhibitors, over a third of which were local producers from Stratford and surrounding Warwickshire areas came together in the 8th annual Stratford Food Festival on 14th and 15th September at the Stratford Racecourse, proving a successful year at its new venue.

Even some blustery weather did not deter visitors who mainly arrived in cars and made good use of the free parking. The shuttle bus to and from the Stratford town centre was also busy throughout the event and congestion was also much less of an issue this year.

Crowds flocked to get a glimpse of Paul Hollywood of The Great British Bake Off proving a very good choice as a celebrity draw for the event, Sunday in particular was much busier than the second day of last year’s festival and Paul’s demonstrations were totally sold out. While the better day for the weather was on the Saturday, averaging out the high footfall for the weekend.

Organiser Charlotte Harris, of Showplace Events, said: “It was amazing to see how broad the appeal of Paul Hollywood was, attracting visitors of every age from children upwards. Also, the new venue was much less weather dependent with lots of established facilities and free parking which made life easier for our visitors. It also gives us further opportunities for expansion as we look to the future.


New features to this year’s event also proved a great hit with the public including the interactive workshops where visitors got the chance to get hands on experience of sourdough bread making and Indian inspired cuisine sessions. Additionally the local exhibitor’s tent, new for 2013, saw a mixture of traders from the local area including wonderful artisan breads, quality cheeses, chocolates, jams, preserves and sweets.

The cookery theatre proved to be a strong draw well before the Paul Hollywood road-show swept into town and other stars of the Festival included Indian cooking experts Moushumi Moran of The Cardamom Pod and Anita Sharma-James, Aubrey Allen, Seren Evans-Charrington of Bubbling Stove historical recipes, the chefs from Ettington Park Hotel and Belle House, The School of Artisan Food and Saturday’s guest celebrity Sophie Mitchell who was attending as part of an initiative with the Sense deaf blind charity. The celebrity themes of healthy eating and baking proved to be a winning combination enjoyed by visitors.

With live music, activities for the children and lots of lovely food and drink on offer the event really did offer something for everyone. Subsequent comments from exhibitors and visitors have been extremely encouraging, complementing the volume and variety of food stalls representing local and national food businesses, the popularity of the celebrities and the quality of the event’s organisation.

Visitors and exhibitors discussed their thoughts on the event on social media; “@foodfest2013 fantastic day today spoilt for choice and even the sun came out to play”, “Brilliant day @foodfest2013 well organised, great new location. Organisers should be proud.”

One of the Food Festivals returning exhibitors Rachel’s Cupcakes says “Thanks to @foodfest2013 for another great weekend we have just finished packing everything away! Here’s 2 next year!”

As the organisers look forward to 2014 they will be looking to further differentiate the event and build on this year’s success.

TV Bake-Off to Star at Stratford Food Festival

Celebrity master baker Paul Hollywood, one of the hosts of TV’s hugely popular “Great British Bake-Off”, will make his first appearance at the Stratford Food Festival this September on Sunday 15th.

Paul Hollywood

The Stratford-based Showplace Events team have secured Paul, one of the best known artisan bakers in the UK, as the headline act of the expanded weekend festival which takes place, for the first time, at Stratford Racecourse, 14th and 15th September 2013.

Most famous for his role on the hit BBC2 show starring alongside fellow judge Mary Berry, Paul also runs his own artisan bread business and ha

s become a recognised force in the baking and wider food industry. He regularly appears on TV shows and food networks and has published various best-selling books.

“We are thrilled that Paul has accepted our invitation. It will be great to have one of the top artisan bakers of the UK at the event, especially in its new home,” said Charlotte Harris of Showplace. “Visitors can look forward to seeing Paul doing a live bakery demonstration or join in one of his meet-and-greet sessions. He will do three live bakery demonstrations on the Sunday and appear around the site to do book signings and more.”

A packed programme will feature a host of local and regional food and drink producers, tastings and talks from industry experts, children’s activities and live music.

Charlotte added: “We know how popular the Great British Bake-Off is with our visitors so we will be incorporating this theme into the event in some way over the whole weekend!

“With the extra space available at the new racecourse site, a wider offering than ever before will be showcased. It’s very exicting for us to be able to create an event on this scale and know that we can now command interest from top experts from all over the UK, as well as cotinue to support our local traders and foodies.”

Tickets will be available for purchase online via the website www.stratfordfoodfestival.co.uk in July and anyone wanting to keep up with the latest food festival news can follow @foodfest2013 on twitter or by liking ‘stratfordfoodfestival’ on facebook.


Media contact:

Selwyn Rowley or Laura Bush at LMMC.


01926 611700

Any queries regarding exhibiting: info@stratfordfoodfestival.co.uk

Sponsorship or becoming involved in the festival directed to Charlotte at Showplace (charlotte@stratfordfoodfestival.co.uk)

New Venue Annoucement

Food Festival Success Prompts Venue Switch

The seventh annual Stratford Food Festival will be the biggest and best yet – moving to a larger site to cope with rapid growth and aiming to attract a record 20,000 visitors to the town.

News of the venue switch comes hot on the heels of the Festival being nominated as one of three finalists in the TouchFM Tourism Initiative of the Year category of the Pride of Stratford awards.

Stratford-based main organisers, Showplace Events, have announced that Stratford Racecourse will be the venue for the 2013 festival on 14 and 15 September.  Following a 34 per cent increase in visitor footfall last year, the versatile new location allows further expansion. It has also been chosen for its easy access – avoiding the old site’s congestion around the Lower Clopton Bridge area – its free parking for exhibitors and visitors and its relatively weather-proof hardstanding surfaces.

Charlotte Parkin, at Showplace Events, explains: “Last year, at the recreation ground, if we had suffered Sunday’s weather a day early, when the site became completely water-logged, we would have been forced to cancel the event. At the same time, we achieved the site visitor capacity on the first day, which was a fabulous endorsement. We have the recipe right – we have become a major attraction: now we need to progress away from the limitations of our old site and its water-logging risks.”

For 2013, the organisers have exciting plans to make best use of the extra space and improve the visitor and exhibitor experience. They also aim to attract record exhibitor numbers, including main sponsor Waitrose, artisan producers – many of them local, ranging from cheesemakers to tea companies – and Stratford pubs and hotels.

Charlotte adds: “It’s only a few years since the event had to be rescued from financial ruin. Now, with the continued involvement of town traders and supporters, we aim to continue to grow, on a sound commercial footing, and realise our ambition to be one of the UK’s finest food events and a showcase for Stratford businesses and the entire town.

“While we’re disappointed to have to leave the recreation ground, the upside is that the racecourse offers us a long-term home and an exciting expansion opportunity, avoiding traffic chaos and being able to cope with wet weather.”

Nathan Nock, manager at The One Elm in Guild Street, comments: “We have been involved with the Festival and Showplace Events from the start. It’s marvellous to see how it has grown so fast and been given a new lease of life and how the town really pulls together to attract visitors from across the UK and overseas. It’s a credit to the main organisers and all those who take part.”

David Reid, Stratford Waitrose manager, adds: “We were delighted to sponsor the Festival in 2012. It gave us the chance to showcase our offer alongside some of the best regional producers. The festival is a great addition to the local calendar and all of the Partners at Waitrose Stratford look forward to supporting this growing event.”



Racecourse Location: Click on the map

small local map

Anyone interested in finding out more about the 2013 Stratford Food Festival can contact Showplace Events, 3 Stour House, Clifford Park, Clifford Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 8HW.

Tel: 0044 (0) 1789 262701 or visit www.stratfordfoodfestival.co.uk

Alternatively send any enquiries to: info@stratfordfoodfestival.co.uk


Media contact: Selwyn Rowley or Laura Bush at LMMC


01926 611700


Some highlights and enhancements of the 2013 Stratford Food Festival, so far…

  • Celebrity Chef Paul Hollywood announced for Sunday 15th of the Festival
  • Free town centre shuttle service to the Festival and back
  • Free Car parking for visitors and exhibitors
  • More marketing to boost the event’s profile as a national food and drink festival
  • Local business tent

Discounted exhibitor bookings ends 31st May – don’t miss out.