SPIRITS were far from dampened when Stratford Food Festival returned to town.
Despite a rainy weekend, some 30,000 people descended on Stratford to enjoy treats from a range of stalls from hand-made chocolates and artisan bread, to foraged mushrooms and fresh produce.
The festival – organised by Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) – included a packed programme of demonstrations by local chefs, a market showcasing local and regional producers, hands-on workshops and live music in Bell Court.
Visitors had the chance to take part in a fruit carving workshop, make fudge, sample wines, as well as learn the history of British cheese.
And the popular Taste and Ale Trails made a welcome return giving festival-goers the chance to stroll around Stratford with regular stops for samples of either food or drink at some 30 participating venues.
Events manager Ruth Wood said despite the weather the event was a success, bringing people to the town to eat, drink and make merry in Stratford’s food and drink businesses, as well as shopping with local retailers and giving a taste of the town to future visitors.
She added: “Our aspiration for the festival is for it to be like Ludlow Food Festival and stand apart from some of the more mainstream events across the country.
“It’s all about showing off our town and the range of businesses we have here, whether they be artisan independents or mainstream high street names.
“Of course, the rain wasn’t ideal, but it certainly didn’t stop play. Every cloud has a silver lining, as they say, and in some ways our businesses benefited even more from the weather as people spent longer in cafes, bars, restaurants and shops enjoying the warm and dry.”