The last weekend of September sees the Dane John Gardens in Canterbury transformed into a giant smorgasbord of the best local food and drink. And this year’s Canterbury Food and Drink Festival is set to be bigger and better than ever, as What’s On reports.
Peter Roberts of Wantsum Morris at last year's event
The successful partnership behind Canterbury’s Lounge on the Farm music festival have taken over the city’s Food and Drink Festival.
Victoria Hazell and Sean Baker have founded their own events company Made By Us, and are working with the Event Umbrella, which organised this year’s Whitstable Oyster Festival, to run the three-day extravaganza.
Previously the Eurofair, then the Kent Food and Drink Festival, it was renamed last year to celebrate the fact Canterbury is home to some of the finest producers and purveyors of food, drink and craft in the South East.
Victoria Hazell and Sean Baker
Victoria said: “We have been always been involved with the festival under its different guises and for the past five years we have organised a Little Lounge area for kids at the event. It was close to our heart, so we mentioned to the council we were interested in running it and they invited us to tender this year.”
The pair have more than 95 stalls signed up for the show, not only selling food and drink but artisan crafts from across Kent.
Paul Babra, founder of the Canterbury Curry Club with members
Liquid refreshment will be available at the Festival Bar, which will be stocked with lager, cocktails, wines and soft drinks and the Green Hop Tent will return, selling the unique Kent Green Hop ales, which have to be brewed using a crop fewer than 12 hours old and which has not been dried.
Visitors who fancy a hot snack during their visit can sample a wealth of offerings at the festival, including Vinn Goute’s Seychelles street food kitchen and Baba G’s exotic Indian creations, all prepared using the best Kent produce.
Victoria said: “It is one of Kent’s most important food events, not only because of the fantastic wealth of local produce from the area which is on sale, but because stalls such as the Canterbury Curry Club and Haji Baji create delicious food from around the world using our produce. Being Kentish is not just being produced in the county, it is using Kent ingredients.”
There will also be music on the bandstand over the weekend from local artists including Deal band Gentlemen of Few, the Canterbury Gospel Choir, Canterbury Brass Band, Art Ferguson’s Big Blues Band from Whitstable and Folkestone rock ‘n’ roll band the Elbeats.
And smaller visitors will be catered for at the Little Lounge, where entertainment will include El Baldiniho’s Magic Show and Workshops, messy play and a vintage funfair with classic rides from yesteryear such as a ferris wheel.
Children can enjoy the Little Lounge
Victoria said: “Our aim was to make sure there is something for everyone and focus on making it more of a festival. We don’t want people to just walk through and pick up a loaf of bread and jar of jam. We want it to be a real family event.”
The festival is taking place from 10am to 6pm on Friday, September 27 and Saturday, September 28, and from 10am to 5pm on Sunday, September 29. Admission is free. For information visit www.canterbury.co.uk/canterburyfoodfestival.aspx.
Who's playing at the bandstand?
Friday, September 27
12.30pm: The Mannie Roobs acoustic duo
Saturday, September 28
11am: Canterbury Brass Band
12.30pm: The Marrables four-piece alternative band
1.45pm: Gentlemen of Few folk band
3pm: The Nagasaki 3 surf rock ‘n’ roll band
Sunday, September 29
11am: Canterbury Christ Church Gospel Choir
12.15pm: Strumbums rock band
1.40pm: The Elbeats rock ‘n’ roll band
3pm: Art Ferguson and his Big Blues Band
There will also be DJs throughout the weekend playing ska, rock ‘n’ roll and soul