Thousands flock to the annual Food and Drink Festival in Bury St Edmunds

The Food and Drink Festival in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

It may have been a bit cold and damp but people donned their wet weather gear, grabbed their umbrellas and flocked to the annual Food and Drink Festival, in Bury St Edmunds on Sunday.

And the following day when the weather changed for the better thousands headed for the town for what has been described as the best day ever of the event.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, said the two-day festival had been “a huge success”, with many traders selling out of produce by lunchtime on Bank Holiday Monday.

The urban beach at the Arc Shopping Centre proved to be very popular and children were treated to a Punch and Judy show.

Celebrity chef Paul Rankin also pulled in crowds with cookery demonstrations at the Stoves Cookery Theatre , alongside demos from Bury St Edmunds eateries No 4 Resturant and Bar and Casa.

The farmers’ market on Angel Hill was also a success, with many traders selling out of their local produce.

Mr Cordell said: “It’s been a huge success. Lots of traders reported they ran out of produce by the afternoon.  It’s difficult to quantify the numbers but my gut feeling is that today is the busiest day we’ve ever had.”

There were around 64 stalls and food outlets for people to enjoy as well as the ever popular mini-farm – featuring pygmy goats, miniature pigs, an alpaca, and a miniature horse – on Abbeygate Street.

On Sunday, celebrity chef James Tanner gave cookery demonstrations and shared the stage with shows from staff from The Northgate, Maison Bleue and LP Bar.

Throughout the festival, a balloon modeller, stilt walker and magician also wowed spectators of all ages.

There were also fairground rides for people to enjoy at the Arc, while children got the opportunity to decorate cakes at a special creative cake workshop.

Mr Cordell said on Sunday: “Despite the rain a good day was still had by all and all the traders I spoke to stated, considering the weather, it had been a good day for them.

“The cooking demonstrations were still very popular and numbers, although difficult to quantify, were remarkably good considering the inclement weather.

“Up until the rain came it was pretty busy and in true British spirit the children were watching the Punch and Judy show in the Arc and building their sandcastles in the rain.”

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