Food festival set to become an annual event

Dorset Echo: TOP OF THE POPS: Monty, Charlie and Daisy Havers enjoy their cake pops TOP OF THE POPS: Monty, Charlie and Daisy Havers enjoy their cake pops

TASTE buds were tingled at a food fair in Weymouth.

The first Wessex Food Festival at Weymouth Pavilion Ocean Room was declared a success as hundreds of people poured through the doors to sample the finest food and drink from the South West.

The people behind the two-day festival have run similar events at Kingston Maur-ward College in the past and decided to test the water in Weymouth.

They were not disappointed as around 1,200 people visited the festival each day to browse the 50 or so stalls, sample and buy some tempting goodies, watch cookery demonstrations by some of the best chefs in the area, and try to win a prize on the raffle.

Produce on offer included beer and cider, Dorset honey, cheeses, wine, shellfish, watercress, olives, waffles, cakes and sweets.

There was also Spanish produce, preserves and pancakes, and a host of food accessories.

Visitors could take a break in the food court and enjoy morning coffee, wonderful lunches including paella, sushi, a variety of meat and vegetarian options, crepes and an afternoon Dorset cream tea.

Lindsey Howell, whose family organised the Wessex Food Festival, said the event will support the Purbeck Isle Memorial Fund, set up after the tragic loss of the Weymouth fishing boat with three crewmembers. Almost £700 will go the fund.

Lindsey said: “The festival went really well.

“The success of the event means it will be an annual event in Weymouth.”

Comments (14)

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1:20pm Wed 19 Sep 12

Laughing gnome says...

Surprised they decided to charge entry.
Four of us wanted to go in, but £10 to spend more money inside ? Don't think so. Before anyone comments, I have donated generously to victims of Purbeck Isle tragedy. Anyway, good luck with further events.
Surprised they decided to charge entry. Four of us wanted to go in, but £10 to spend more money inside ? Don't think so. Before anyone comments, I have donated generously to victims of Purbeck Isle tragedy. Anyway, good luck with further events. Laughing gnome
  • Score: 0

1:21pm Wed 19 Sep 12

Crabber says...

Really Good afternoon spent but and it's a big but the Venue was/is to darn small and also a nightmare for the Disabled among us. Also if like me you are disabled you had to battle your way through folks entering the event. Also when outside I found that I had to travel on the road as exhibitors had arranged their stalls in such away that I could not use the pavements. I hope it does continue but please please next year have it in the car park at the front or even at the REDUNDANT Ferry Terminal. Then if the weathers bad then hold it inside. Moan over it was a great if expensive afternoon out
Really Good afternoon spent but and it's a big but the Venue was/is to darn small and also a nightmare for the Disabled among us. Also if like me you are disabled you had to battle your way through folks entering the event. Also when outside I found that I had to travel on the road as exhibitors had arranged their stalls in such away that I could not use the pavements. I hope it does continue but please please next year have it in the car park at the front or even at the REDUNDANT Ferry Terminal. Then if the weathers bad then hold it inside. Moan over it was a great if expensive afternoon out Crabber
  • Score: 0

3:15pm Wed 19 Sep 12

jenrick says...

A very good show Agree venue too small and crowded. But delighted with my cheese and jam and glad this will now be an annual event, maybe outside next time and in the better weather months.
A very good show Agree venue too small and crowded. But delighted with my cheese and jam and glad this will now be an annual event, maybe outside next time and in the better weather months. jenrick
  • Score: 0

5:27pm Wed 19 Sep 12

LPH123 says...

Better weather months??! After the summers we've just had, I don't think there's such a thing!!! As one of the organisers, I can assure you we will take on your concerns about how busy it was in the ocean room and we will look to spread the event better next year, maybe we'll try to use the upstairs rooms and the corridor better next time (although it would limit access to some areas to those with some disabilities -something we really don't want to do), I don't think we can do it outside though as the weather is just too unpredictable. We will try to make improvements though, as our first time it was very much a learning experience. One thing we can't change it the entry fee, it costs a large amount of money to hire the venue, put all the logistics of an event in place and advertise, promote and stage an event effectively. Unfortunately without an entry fee there will be no Wessex Food Festival. Wish this could be different, but unfortunately there is no way. Please put all feedback good and bad on here and we can try and make it as good/even better next year. Thanks to everyone who visited, cooked and exhibited, you all made it a great weekend. See you again next year.
Better weather months??! After the summers we've just had, I don't think there's such a thing!!! As one of the organisers, I can assure you we will take on your concerns about how busy it was in the ocean room and we will look to spread the event better next year, maybe we'll try to use the upstairs rooms and the corridor better next time (although it would limit access to some areas to those with some disabilities -something we really don't want to do), I don't think we can do it outside though as the weather is just too unpredictable. We will try to make improvements though, as our first time it was very much a learning experience. One thing we can't change it the entry fee, it costs a large amount of money to hire the venue, put all the logistics of an event in place and advertise, promote and stage an event effectively. Unfortunately without an entry fee there will be no Wessex Food Festival. Wish this could be different, but unfortunately there is no way. Please put all feedback good and bad on here and we can try and make it as good/even better next year. Thanks to everyone who visited, cooked and exhibited, you all made it a great weekend. See you again next year. LPH123
  • Score: 0

9:51pm Wed 19 Sep 12

weymouthfox says...

I went along on Sunday and found it interesting, but not worth the entry fee. Go along to the seafood festival, more to see and free.
I went along on Sunday and found it interesting, but not worth the entry fee. Go along to the seafood festival, more to see and free. weymouthfox
  • Score: 0

12:00am Thu 20 Sep 12

lostnfound says...

As it was a success, perhaps next year our council could see fit to lower the hire fees and help to promote this event - they managed to let the Bayside Festival get off at much reduced cost to the organisers of that 'event' (:o))
As it was a success, perhaps next year our council could see fit to lower the hire fees and help to promote this event - they managed to let the Bayside Festival get off at much reduced cost to the organisers of that 'event' (:o)) lostnfound
  • Score: 0

12:24pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Monmouthsman says...

Thanks to LPH123 and family for putting on a great event that W&PBC should obviously be promoting.
If it must stay in the Ocean Room please at least put advised routing arrows up to lessen the circulation mayhem. Maybe an area of the carpark could be used too?
Hope it was a financial success and raised money for the appeal.
Thanks to LPH123 and family for putting on a great event that W&PBC should obviously be promoting. If it must stay in the Ocean Room please at least put advised routing arrows up to lessen the circulation mayhem. Maybe an area of the carpark could be used too? Hope it was a financial success and raised money for the appeal. Monmouthsman
  • Score: 0

6:09pm Thu 20 Sep 12

LPH123 says...

Thanks for your good suggestions, will definitely use arrows next year and try to use a section of the Carpark.
Thanks for your good suggestions, will definitely use arrows next year and try to use a section of the Carpark. LPH123
  • Score: 0

6:09pm Thu 20 Sep 12

LPH123 says...

Thanks for your good suggestions, will definitely use arrows next year and try to use a section of the Carpark.
Thanks for your good suggestions, will definitely use arrows next year and try to use a section of the Carpark. LPH123
  • Score: 0

11:47am Fri 21 Sep 12

Atilla says...

Does that mean that the numerous home made posters which have been adorning practically every lamp post in town will remain until next year?
Does that mean that the numerous home made posters which have been adorning practically every lamp post in town will remain until next year? Atilla
  • Score: 0

12:20pm Fri 21 Sep 12

Laughing gnome says...

LPH123, with all due respect, the other food festival doesn't charge doesit ? I know that the council will charge you for the venue, but maybe £2.50 per person could be lowered to £1.50. That way more people may be tempted to go in & spend more inside.
LPH123, with all due respect, the other food festival doesn't charge doesit ? I know that the council will charge you for the venue, but maybe £2.50 per person could be lowered to £1.50. That way more people may be tempted to go in & spend more inside. Laughing gnome
  • Score: 0

3:13pm Fri 21 Sep 12

LPH123 says...

Hi Laughing Gnome, The Seafood festival doesn't charge people to visit but they do charge a much larger fee for companies/stall holders to exhibit. Plus they have wealthy sponsors who inject a large amount of money in the the event and total backing from the local council. As it was our first Wessex Food Festival, we couldn't attract any wealthy sponsors and were very greatful to Meyers Estates for the support they gave us in helping with signage. We also wanted to make the pitch price as affordable as possible for exhibitors so there was a festival to visit rather than an empty room because no one was prepared to pay high fees to exhibit at an untried and tested. Being able to offer a free festival requires others footing the bill, in an ideal world we would of covered the cost of set up with sponsorship and been able to reduce entry prices but that just wasn't possible. We do feel our entry fee is reasonable when compared to other Food Fairs ie. Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival - £4, Bridport Food Festival - £2.50. Hopefully as the event grows in future years costs will come down, but events like this don't just happen, they take months of planning and organisation, early starts and late nights, staffing costs and set-up costs, most people seemed happy and expected to pay the entry fee. We did print off 2000 flyers and distributed them throughout the local area offering 50p off the entry price. We really did try to make it affordable. I'm sorry that some people didn't feel it was. All posters will be coming down.
Hi Laughing Gnome, The Seafood festival doesn't charge people to visit but they do charge a much larger fee for companies/stall holders to exhibit. Plus they have wealthy sponsors who inject a large amount of money in the the event and total backing from the local council. As it was our first Wessex Food Festival, we couldn't attract any wealthy sponsors and were very greatful to Meyers Estates for the support they gave us in helping with signage. We also wanted to make the pitch price as affordable as possible for exhibitors so there was a festival to visit rather than an empty room because no one was prepared to pay high fees to exhibit at an untried and tested. Being able to offer a free festival requires others footing the bill, in an ideal world we would of covered the cost of set up with sponsorship and been able to reduce entry prices but that just wasn't possible. We do feel our entry fee is reasonable when compared to other Food Fairs ie. Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival - £4, Bridport Food Festival - £2.50. Hopefully as the event grows in future years costs will come down, but events like this don't just happen, they take months of planning and organisation, early starts and late nights, staffing costs and set-up costs, most people seemed happy and expected to pay the entry fee. We did print off 2000 flyers and distributed them throughout the local area offering 50p off the entry price. We really did try to make it affordable. I'm sorry that some people didn't feel it was. All posters will be coming down. LPH123
  • Score: 0

3:36pm Fri 21 Sep 12

Laughing gnome says...

Fair enough. Good luck next year.
Fair enough. Good luck next year. Laughing gnome
  • Score: 0

3:38pm Fri 21 Sep 12

LPH123 says...

Thank you!
Thank you! LPH123
  • Score: 0

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