Winners of pet and biscuit competitions at virtual Ginger & Spice Festival

The cuddly winners of a 'ginger pets' competition have been announced, while a young girl has been rewarded for her biscuit-decorating skills.

As part of the Ginger & Spice Festival, which took place virtually this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, competitions were held for anyone to take part in.

The festival, which celebrates Market Drayton's rich heritage of spicy and exotic cuisine, would normally have seen crowds enjoying a pop-up spice exchange and live comedy, demonstrations and talks.

As with most live events, it was called off earlier this year in light of Covid-19 and social distancing rules. Festival director Julia Roberts worked hard to put on a virtual show and she was helped by a big cast of collaborators who provided talks, shows and demonstrations.

The festival's competitions were still held, including 'Best Gingerbread House' (for adults), 'Best Decorated Biscuit' (for children), 'Best Ginger Dog' and 'Best Ginger Cat'.

'Spicy'

The winner of the gingerbread house contest and £200 in vouchers for Market Drayton businesses was Daniel Brook, for his creation 'Spicy'.

He said: “I had a lot of fun entering the competition and I am really excited to have won. What a wonderful virtual event, a big thank you to the generous sponsors and organiser for the prize – looking forward to buying some spicy goods from the independent shops in Market Drayton.”

Gilly Gingerbread

Meanwhile six-year-old Neave Rowley won the biscuit competition with her impressively-decorated biscuit 'Gilly Gingerbread'.

She said: "I am very happy that I won, it was great fun decorating Gilly Gingerbread and I am looking forward to my prize."

She won a hamper of gingerbread from the Original Biscuit Bakers.

Biscuit judge Sarah Hopcroft said: "Neave’s biscuit was excellent, imaginative with great use of decorations – a biscuit you would purchase."

Her fellow judge Jana Jacobson said: "The biscuits were a pleasure to look at – and, I'm sure, to eat too."

Joey, the winner of the Ginger Dog competition. Photo: Jordan Adelburgh Photography

The winner of the dog competition was the handsome Cavapoo Joey, who will be treated to a free groom or kennel stay at Quintessential Quarters as well as a treat pack from the Life of Riley pet bakery and boutique.

His owner Robyn Harrison said: ‘‘Thank you so much for choosing Joey. We came very close to losing him earlier in the year when he was seriously ill so this win is a real bonus.’’

Pintxo the cat, who won the Ginger Cat competition

Joey's feline counterpart was Pintxo, owned by Sarai Gil Martin, who won a four-day stay at Quintessential Quarters.

Sponsor Jacqueline Montegrino, owner of Quintessential Quarters, said: “I was delighted to be invited to sponsor the contest again this year. Thank you to everyone who sent in their gorgeous photos; we had a bumper entry of cats and it was so hard to choose.

"However, Sarai Martin’s Maine Coon kitten called Pintxo won me over with his big ginger ears and cheeky face.

"My canine choice was Robyn Harrison’s ginger Cavapoo, Joey, because he looks like a really spicy character in the photo, and I loved his ginger curls."

Event sponsor James Du Pavey said: "It has been an absolute delight to support what has become a key event for Market Drayton. It is wonderful what the team have achieved this year especially given the challenges of Covid-19. They have done so much over digital media to bring the festival community together."

The fifth annual Ginger & Spice Festival will take place at the end of September 2021, with dates to be confirmed in due course.

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