IT WAS a big year for the Weston Super Food Festival this year. It embarked on new territory as the festival has left the Winter Gardens and Italian Gardens outside the Sovereign Centre and moved into the vacant Tropicana site.
Despite being a little out of the way and unable to capture passers by from the Sovereign Centre and High Street like on previous years, the festival seemed just as popular as ever and the scorching weather last weekend, September 17/18, definitely did its best to help. Being the once playful and communal area that the Tropicana used to be, the Food Fest seemed determined to take inspiration from this and turn this celebration of food into more of a fete and family display. There was arguably better signage this year though with various banners all around town. Being in the same place as the world famous Banksy exhibition was, there was similar signage from the train station along the floor directing you where to go. There was still remnants from the exhibition on the walls of the Tropicana to add another edge to this year’s festival.
As well as all of the usual food talks and stalls, this year saw a bouncy castle, in the shape of a tractor, for children as well as a sand pit area, Coconut Shy, Tombola and even some Crumpet Tossing courtesy of the Weston Operatic Society, who will be performing Monty Python’s Spamalot. There was also room for the relevant wildlife charities to return as well as an Edible Garden stall and Hand-made Wooden Gifts. Young charitable group Weston Eagles were also there with their human fruit machine.
Inside the Tropicana, the talks area that used to be in the main hall of the Winter Gardens had made it into one of the rooms with the award winning entries from both the Weston Bake Off and Weston’s Lego Competition. The indoor stalls seemed a little more claustrophobic than in the Winter Gardens as it was much harder to get round but that didn’t seem to deter people from parting with their money at the various Bakery, Fudge, Chutney, Chocolate, Cake and Alcohol stalls. Places like Hills Bakery, Shaldon Bakery, Wessex Pantry, The Icing Centre, Yippee Foods, Award Winning Pork Pies, Times Past and Cocobella all returned for the weekend as well as some new faces like The Bakery Box and a stall full of flavoured nuts from Spain.
Outside was where all of the hot food stalls were located, bringing you a collection of food from around the world from Pizza, Japanese, Spanish and Thai all the way to Gluten Free, Seafood, American inspired barbecue and local Pies and Pasties. Even dogs were catered for by Bonzo’s Dog Treats.
Again there were a number of returning stalls like Big Betty’s Smoke Oven and Chew Moos but there was also some fresh faces like the Luxury Hot Pancakes stall, The Greatest Little Coffee Box on Earth and Cracking Nuts to offer some competition to Chew Moos. There was also entertainment in the bar hut with various musical acts strutting their stuff to their willing public.
Once again the Food Fest was a roaring success with lots of great tastes and experiences. See below for our gallery, hopefully inspiring you to visit some of the companies who appeared at the Fest who provide some really good food: