Shrewsbury Food Festival leaves Quarry full of tingling taste buds

Thousands of food lovers flocked to the county town this weekend to soak up the sunshine at the annual Shrewsbury Food Festival.

Enjoying Japanese street food, (left-right) Tash McEntagart and Amy Brownridge, both of Telford, during Shrewsbury Food Festival
Enjoying Japanese street food, (left-right) Tash McEntagart and Amy Brownridge, both of Telford, during Shrewsbury Food Festival

The event on Saturday, which attracted thousands of 'foodies' from across the country, marked its return after the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns meant large events were cancelled throughout 2020.

Punters couldn't be happier to be back mooching around the stalls, buying local produce and listening to the live music after a long 18 months without festivals like these.

People enter Shrewsbury Food Festival, at The Quarry

Shrewsbury Food Festival, organised by Shropshire Festivals, is always a popular day out, with county-based traders and businesses setting up stalls for the eager visitors to try some delicious grub.

The weather held out on Saturday and the atmosphere was one of the excitement and people relaxing, enjoying their day in the sunshine.

For many of the traders there, it was their first big event of the summer festival season, and even though it was ending they were glad to be out interacting with customers again.

Enjoying Shrewsbury Food Festival, at The Quarry, Shrewsbury, Megan Jarvis, aged 7, of Church Stretton

Tim and Jess Moody, from Drink Up, a Shrewsbury-based hot drinks van business, had only set up shop 18 months ago and have been looking forward to getting back out to festivals once again.

"It's so nice to be back doing festivals and seeing people enjoying things like this," Jess said. "Everyone seems really relaxed.

Elmo Panic entertains during Shrewsbury Food Festival

"We are from Shrewsbury and it's great to see the town busy and see everyone happy here. We have not traded here before, but normally came as punters, so it's great to experience it the other way.

"The business started 18 months ago and it's just to finally be at a food festival again, especially on home turf."

Similarly, Jaci and Tristan Dale launched Proper Good Dairy from their Church Stretton farm two years ago, and are thrilled to be able to finally share their story with customers.

From Proper Good Dairy Jaci Dale, of Church Stretton

"This is our first Shrewsbury Food Festival event and it's great, we are still getting our heads round it all really," Jaci said.

"Obviously we started the business two years ago and then suddenly everything stopped and we went into lockdown. So being back out here is great – the event is very well organised and the weather has been brilliant.

"It's really valuable for us as a business to be out here and be able to tell our story to people."

Enjoying Japanese street food, (left-right) Tash McEntagart and Amy Brownridge, both of Telford, during Shrewsbury Food Festival

Pat Parkes and Sarah Bennett from Telford-based, The Shropshire Ice Cream Company, have been coming to the festival for five years.

"It is just so nice to see old faces and other vendors who are usually in the events circle," Pat said. "We haven't seen them for ages because of Covid and lockdowns.

"There are normally quite a few festivals throughout the summer but this is our first one back, even though its the end of the season now really."

Enjoying Shrewsbury Food Festival, at The Quarry, Shrewsbury

Hannah Sherlock, from Shrewsbury was thrilled to be back at the festival and was enjoying her day with her family.

"It's just so good to be back out at events, there's food, drink, music and entertainment – what more could you want," she said. "I love it here. Kids love it and adults, everyone is up dancing, it's great.

"I love the Quarry being used – it is right in the heart of town. There's the river, the playing area nearby, it's a great setting and the food festival is always a great event."

Crowds at Shrewsbury Food Festival, The Quarry

Harry and Tara Jones travelled from Wolverhampton to visit the popular festival. The couple said the day felt safe and well organised, with enough space for everyone.

"We travelled from Wolverhampton because we love the food festival – it's such a great day out," Harry said. "It obviously hasn't been on for a couple of years so it's nice to have a wander around the stalls, listen to the music and just enjoy yourself.

"It's good to see local businesses back in action and here at an event like this, it's great for them."

Enjoying food from Halloumination, Sam Richards, of Shrewsbury, during Shrewsbury Food Festival, at The Quarry

Tara added: "It's nice to see everybody out enjoying themselves and being more relaxed. It's just a great way to bring people together after so long.

"I don't feel as though there is a big, overwhelming sense of strictness. It's very safe but relaxed as there is so much space everything is spread out and well lay out.

"We went to The Boathouse and it was very busy. It's great for local businesses and good to see the town so busy."

Music entertainment at Shrewsbury Food Festival, The Quarry

Stuart Collins, owner of Docket 33 in Whitchurch and who recently appeared in the finals of the Great British Menu, was doing a cooking demo at the festival on Saturday.

He said the festival really showcases what Shropshire has to offer and provides people with authentic and local food.

Rob Gibson gives a demonstration during Shrewsbury Food Festival, at The Quarry

"The cooking classes were nice and full which was brilliant, and the demo tents had full seats which is what you want," Stuart said.

"This is the third or fourth year doing the show and it's just superb. The festival gets better and bigger each year.

Dessert Queen manager Celeste Ashford, and (right) owner Jodine Ashford, both of Market Drayton, during Shrewsbury Food Festival

"One of the great things about Shrewsbury Food Festival is a lot of the vendors and producers are very very local. It brings a real authenticity to the event.

"For a lot of producers, that's how they make their money and build their platform so I am sure it's been tough for them not having the festivals go ahead."

The festival runs across the weekend with live entertainment, food stalls and cooking demos.

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