THERE WILL be the Queen Mother of all festivals in Poundbury next weekend as Dorset food and art are celebrated.

The new look Dorset Food and Arts Festival is taking place on Saturday, August 2.

The last two years the event has simply been known as the Dorset Festival and this year the name has been altered to reflect the celebration of artistic creativity.

Thousands of visitors have turned out for the event in previous years and organisers are hoping this time round it will be bigger and better than ever as they seek to raise funds for the Weldmar Hospicecare Trustand the Cinnamon Trust.

The free festival in Queen Mother Square runs from 9am and is being organised by Dorset Food and Drink, Dorset Farmers’ Markets, the Duchy of Cornwall and a voluntary committee.

The artistic element to this year’s festival will also involve the New Hardy Players, the Dorchester Community Play and Screen Bites, Dorset’s food and film festival.

There will be nearly 50 stalls laden with Dorset produce from charcuterie to shellfish, marshmallows to water buffalo.

Leading chefs from around the county will be cooking up a farm in the Dorset Farmers’ Market mobile kitchen and there is an all-day music programme including folk musicians Howling At The Moon and Dorset’s Got Talent winner Annabel Davies.

In the evening there will be poetry from town crier and poet Alistair Chisholm as well as entertainment from Dorchester’s Drummer Hodge band and from the New Hardy Players.

Simon Conibear, the Duchy’s estate director for Poundbury, said: “We are delighted that Queen Mother Square will be hosting the third Dorset Food and Arts Festival.

“We hope that many people will come for an enjoyable day celebrating Dorset’s best food, music and arts.”

The festival will be opened at 10.30am by Tim Laycock, Dorset musician and historian and a special guest from Dorchester’s past will be also making an appearance. This year’s event, on the weekend closest to the birthday of the late Queen Mother, coincides with the monthly Dorset Farmers’ Market in Poundbury.

Entry and parking are free but visitors are encouraged to use the park and ride from Dorchester Town Football Club, where buses will leave for the festival every half an hour. Buses start at 9.30am and the last bus will leave Queen Mother Square at 6pm.