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Canterbury Food and Drink Festival cancelled


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One of Kent's biggest food and drink festivals has been cancelled at three weeks' notice.

The event in Canterbury had been due to take place over the weekend of September 24-26, with thousands of visitors expected.

Canterbury Food and Drink Festival
Canterbury Food and Drink Festival

But organiser The Event Umbrella has announced it will not be going ahead – blaming a variety of factors, including not enough stallholders.

The company runs the Canterbury Food and Drink Festival for the city council in the Dane John Gardens, where up to 120 stalls would typically offer a wide choice of food from around the world.

The festival was also cancelled last September during the Covid pandemic restrictions.

In a post on The Event Umbrella Facebook page, organisers say: "We are sorry to say that we have had to take the difficult decision to cancel the Canterbury Food and Drink Festival this year.

"The events industry is still suffering the aftershocks of the pandemic and we realised we would not be able to deliver the festival that we have all come to love, and anything less than that would be an injustice to our visitors, our traders and the festival itself.

Canterbury Food and Drink Festival was last held in 2019
Canterbury Food and Drink Festival was last held in 2019

"We look forward to 2022 and coming back bigger and better than before."

Organiser Victoria Hazell added: "The events industry is still a difficult industry to operate in at the moment and not all of our traders have come back and some are experiencing staff shortages.

"It's not all due to Covid but some are still reluctant to do events and on top of that there are issues with haulage and delivery prices.

"We could have potentially delivered a smaller event but that wouldn't have been in the spirit of the festival and been a disappointment to traders and visitor alike."

City council spokesman Rob Davies says it's disappointing but the authority understands the difficulties and challenges the events industry is facing.

A stall at the Canterbury Food and Drink Festival in 2019
A stall at the Canterbury Food and Drink Festival in 2019

"The decision was made as late as possible in order to give it every possible chance of going ahead," he said.

"Although the festival isn't going to happen this year, Canterbury is still home to an incredible range of restaurants, food and drink businesses and food markets, so the city has pretty much every angle covered when it comes to appealing to foodies.

"We hope people will pay a visit as they planned to and discover something new that they may not have considered previously."

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

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