Over 20,000 food enthusiasts converged on Clitheroe for the town’s ‘best ever’ annual food festival.
And jubilant organisers Ribble Valley Borough Council today said the event had surpassed all expectations.
The festival, sponsored by the Compleat Food Group, Fort Vale Engineering and Holmes Mill, showcased some of the region’s best food and drink – from wild game and Biltong beef to cheese truckles and curry kits, along with a feast of fruit and vegetables packed with authentic flavours – from around 90 exhibitors.
It also attracted a jaw-dropping fly-over by the Red Arrows, which brought the town centre to a standstill just before 2pm, as well as a feast of live entertainment.
Many exhibitors at the festival were sold out by the early afternoon, while street food vendors attracted long queues throughout the day.
And high street traders also got a slice of the pie, with many reporting increased footfall and sales.
This year’s festival rounded off a week of foodie events being held throughout Ribble Valley.
The first Ribble Valley Taste Fest, held in the week leading up to the festival, featured a feast of activities and special events, including picnics, wine-tastings, a champagne and seafood dinner and a farm walk, many of which were sold out within days of tickets going on sale.
David Birtwhistle, chairman of Ribble Valley Borough Council’s economic development committee, said: “This year’s Clitheroe Food Festival was one of the best yet and attracted thousands of food enthusiasts, including for the first time coach trips, which is a significant development.
“Festivalgoers enjoyed top-quality artisan produce, a feast of family entertainment and a warm Ribble Valley welcome.
“We are proud to have created what has become one of the UK’s premiere food festivals and are already receiving expressions of interest for next year’s event.”
Nicola Hopkins, Ribble Valley Borough Council’s director of economic development and planning, added: “Our festival team worked behind the scenes for many months to bring this fantastic event to fruition and I would like to thank them for their sterling efforts.
“This year’s festival was the best ever, surpassing all expectations, and once again shows the ability of a small authority to punch way above its weight in delivering major projects that produce significant outcomes for residents, visitors and businesses.”