Record crowds turn out for return of food and drink festival

Beccles Food fest

Crowds enjoying the food and drink stalls in Sheepgate, Beccles, at the town's annual food and drink festival. - Credit: Dominic's Photography

Record crowds turned out for the return of Beccles Food and Drink Festival, with organisers hailing the event a success.

More than 60 artisan food and drink stalls attended the seventh festival on Saturday, May 28, around Sheepgate, New Market and in and around St Michael’s Church, showcasing the best of East Anglian produce.  

The smell of hot street food, including wood fired pizza, Hawaiian poke bowls, Thai cuisine, Indian curries and snacks, wraps, wild boar burgers and jumbo hot dogs proved very popular. 

Mr & Mrs Olive's stall in New Market

Mr & Mrs Olive's stall in New Market at Beccles Food and Drink Festival 2022. - Credit: Dominic's Photography

Bench seating in New Market, sponsored by Fred Olsen Travel, gave visitors the chance to relax and enjoy their purchases. 

For the first time, the event’s cookery theatre was located under a canopy on the picturesque terrace at the back of St Michael’s, where Richard Bainbridge from Benedicts in Norwich headlined chefs from local hospitality venues as well as students from East Coast College, which ran the theatre. 

Chef Richard Bainbridge's cookery demonstration

Chef Richard Bainbridge's cookery demonstration at Beccles Food and Drink Festival. - Credit: Dominic's Photography

Throughout the day Yanny Mac, the town’s unofficial Town Crier, kept visitors apprised with his entertaining announcements, while the ever-popular Punch and Judy shows, sponsored by the East of England Co-op, attracted large audiences. 

Beccles Food and Drink Festival 2022

Festival Crier Yanny Mac, consort Hannah Cairns and headline chef Richard Bainbridge of Benedicts, Norwich. - Credit: Dominic's Photography

The Mayor’s Award for the Best Stall Appearance, sponsored by Sweeties of Beccles, was awarded by councillor Barry Darch to The Tiny Tipple Company, a long standing attendee of the event. 

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Many of the retail businesses around the festival area benefitted from extra footfall, and a steady flow of visitors to the town centre lasted until the event’s finish at 4pm.

East Norfolk Trading's stall at Beccles Food and Drink Festival

East Norfolk Trading's stall at Beccles Food and Drink Festival. - Credit: Dominic's Photography

Fringe events and special dishes continue to feature in the local area until Sunday, June 12, bringing the festival to a close for 2022. 

Details can be found at becclesfoodfestival.co.uk

The Tiny Tipple Company receiving Best Stall Presentation from Beccles mayor, Councillor Barry Darch

The Tiny Tipple Company receiving Best Stall Presentation from Beccles mayor, Councillor Barry Darch. - Credit: Dominic's Photography

Paul Parravani, who leads a small organising team, said: “It was a brilliant day, and we have so far received only positive comments from both visitors and traders, who had a very successful day. 

"Overall, everything went very well and all our visitors and traders left the town centre clean and tidy.”

The date for next year’s festival has already been set as Saturday, May 27.

The ever popular Rumpus Ukelele perform for the crowds

The ever popular Rumpus Ukelele perform for the crowds. - Credit: Dominic's Photography

The Cookery Theatre on the Terrace at St. Michael's church

The Cookery Theatre on the Terrace at St. Michael's church. - Credit: Dominic's Photography

Suffolk Pate's stall at Beccles Food and Drink Festival

Suffolk Pate's stall at Beccles Food and Drink Festival. - Credit: Dominic's Photography

Stalls in St. Michael's Parish Church

Stalls in St. Michael's Parish Church at Beccles Food and Drink Festival. - Credit: Dominic's Photography

Hanton's Punch and Judy Show entertaining young and old

Hanton's Punch and Judy Show entertaining young and old. - Credit: Dominic's Photography