The Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival will throw its doors open to visitors this weekend for its thirteenth annual event.

Tomorrow and Sunday, from 10am to 5pm, the Sturminster Newton Recreation Ground will be home to some of the South West’s finest food, drink and craft.

Since its creation in 1998, the cheese festival has become a key event in the Sturminster Newton calendar. Founded in honour of the town’s dairy history and with links to the former cattle market and Old Creamery, the main aim of the festival is to bring together cheese lovers and producers from all over the country.

It is no surprise that cheese from Dorset and the rest of the West Country is well represented, but there is much more than just cheese on offer.

Other creations available in the food tent include confectionary, pies, delicatessen and meats and many exhibitors will offer samples. Some will even run tastings, competitions and demonstrations in the on-site venue – The Mousetrap Theatre. Inside the craft tent, visitors will be able to explore a range of home wares, toys and garden products.

Organisers have attributed the festival’s lasting appeal to its ‘authentic rural atmosphere’. Visitors will be able to sit on hay bales and enjoy local food, cider and real ale and local bands throughout the weekend. People may even catch a glimpse of a local celebrity chef such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who has been seen at previous festivals.

The cheese festival has plenty for the children too, with entertainment such as Punch and Judy shows, face painting, cow milking demonstrations and swing boat rides.

Festival parking is available close to the site in Durrant Field and near Sturminster High School. A free shuttle bus will run from 9.45am to 5.15pm over the two days taking visitors to the festival venue.

Adult tickets cost £4 and children under 15 go free. Dogs are permitted except in the food tents, provided that they are on a lead. Visit