One of the largest events in the Ribble Valley’s calendar hits town on Saturday as Clitheroe Food Festival celebrates four years of showcasing Lancashire’s finest food and drink producers.
While more than 100 Lancashire-based artisans and specialists adorn the streets and market with a magnificent range of delicious fare for our tables, musicians of all genres will add to the atmosphere.
There will be an abundance of activities offering fun throughout the day.
The festival is a not-for-profit event, with all money raised being used to fund subsequent events.
The festival team is supported by Ribble Valley Borough Council and this year’s main sponsors are brewers Daniel Thwaites, renowned in Lancashire for excellent beers and their beautiful shire horse dray wagon, which will display in King Street around 11 am and in Market Place around 12-30 pm.
Support and sponsorship is still flowing in. Even Paul Hollywood, of “The Great British Bake Off”, is making an appearance – well, okay, only a leaflet his team have sent, with a donation, to promote an event he will be at later in the year.
But it just goes to show how highly the festival is regarded beyond Lancashire by those who recognise a good event when they see one.
If the weather is kind, a fun fair will descend on the Castle field from Friday until Sunday.
And there will be a beer and music event on Friday and Saturday evening at St Michael and St John’s Church to kickstart proceedings.
For those who may choose to over-indulge, high intensity workout demonstrations from CobraFit will put festival goers through their paces between 12 and 12-30 pm and 2 to 2-30 pm in the Bull Ring at the market.
Martin Smith, of the Lancaster Brewery, one of this year’s sponsors and a stalwart of the festival, said: “Too many food and drink festivals concentrate on making money and over commercialise their event and they forget the reason the festivals were created in the first place – to support local area artisan producers.
“Clitheroe Food Festival is the highlight of our year – it’s aim is to showcase local producers and it sticks to it.”
Festival co-ordinator Julie Whalley added: “What an August it’s turning out to be in the Ribble Valley.
“The weather never ceases to stop hardy Lancastrians from turning out in their thousands to support numerous well organised events.”
“This event has to remain focused on being quality led due to the size and nature of it being held in a town centre with very little room to grow it.
“Reputable companies who become sponsors want to be associated with quality events.
“It’s no easy task, we have such a tiny team. We only work part time on the event, as we have our own businesses to run too.
“It takes a lot of effort and many sleepless nights, but is worth every minute seeing people enjoying what a wonderful festival we’ve co-ordinated for them to enjoy so freely with their friends and family.
“If only we could persuade them all to part with a fiver we would not worry too much about next year’s funding.”
The festival opens on Saturday at 9 am.
Donations are welcomed at the Clitheroe Food Festival stand, which can be found in the centre of the marquee area on the market car park on festival day.
There are a few cookery demonstrations, talks and tastings still requiring support.
Advanced ticket sales have now ceased, but many events have a few seats still remaining. These can be purchased on the door on the run up to the session.
l For more information log onto www.clitheroefood festival.co.uk