Allan Blackburn column

Allan Blackburn.
Allan Blackburn.

This week I am recovering after a really hectic weekend. Over the bank holiday weekend Lancaster Leisure Park hosted the Lancaster Food and Drink Festival.

We’ve run this amazing food show for three years now and this weekend was the best and biggest one yet.

We ran the event over both Sunday and Monday in conjunction with Lancaster Brewery and Country Style Meats Farm Shop, both huge attractions on the park in their own right.

We were fortunate again to be sponsored by Booths and all of last week was spent transforming the site into a foodie paradise with 65 exhibitors in marquees, gazebos and huts all over the park.

There was no admission charge and we provided free parking for 4,000 cars so we knew we’d be pretty busy, but nothing could have prepared us for just how good the event was.

The rain just held off with a bit of drizzle on Sunday, but we were amazed when over 11,000 poured into the event over the two days.

We started welcoming producers, growers, artisans and foodies into their allotted spaces on the Sunday morning at 5:30 am. I haven’t seen that time of day since my children were little! Everyone was in good spirits as we helped them unload their cars and vans and show them where they would be positioned.

We had indoor spaces in marquees, outdoor stalls and hot street food vendors lined the outdoor walkways.

When we opened at 10:00 the place already smelt amazing with wood fired pizzas, hot paellas, smoked fish, hog roasts, BBQs and even Mauritian food all cooking away. Visitors spent the days browsing the stalls, tasting and sampling all the different foods and chatting to the exhibitors about their passions: food and drink.

Families were able to escape the hustle and bustle away from the main food stalls at the childrens area which had bouncy castle and an excellent face painter.

This year was the first year we welcomed Horus birds of prey to the event and I know a lot of the children were overwhelmed to be able to put on a glove and actually hold an owl themselves.

It was a fantastic two days but I can safely say, I am shattered now. Having a day off today and then it’s back to the Antiques Centre. See you next week.