FOOD fans will get a proper treat when a free festival arrives in South Shields.
The Proper Food and Drink Festival will descend on Bents Park in May, bringing in 70 gourmet food and drink traders, as well as bars and entertainment.
The first festival, which took place in North Shields last year, had about 10,000 visitors and organiser Mark Deacon is hoping for a repeat performance in South Shields this year.
“The festival in North Shields had a massive impact on the area last year,” said Mark. “It was really positive, and I would expect it to be similar this year. Bents Park is a terrific venue, and the area will be busy over the bank holiday weekend without our festival being there, so it should be buzzing.”
Mark was invited to attend a North East Chamber of Commerce meeting after the first event last year, to hear about the effect the festival had on the local area.
At the free, three-day event in South Shields, which will take place on May 24 to May 26, about 50 stalls will exhibit food and drink, and there will be about 20 hot food and drink stalls.
Companies from across the North East will sell their goods, including Kitty’s Ginger Wine, Rutherford Organics, Hot Stuff Chilli Company, Ellis Cupcakes and New Zealand Pies.
Mike said: “The festival is made up of 80 per cent local producers who sell really good, high-end produce, mostly artisan producers who sell the best of the best local stuff. There will be lots of street foods, cocktail bars and real ale bars.”
Mike who also organises the North East Chilli Fest, has received the backing of businesses in the town to help promote the event, which is a family-friendly affair.
“We weren’t surprised at the success of the first event last year,” he said. “We spent a lot of time and effort organising it, so it was what we expected.
“People from the amusements opposite Bents Park are going to help to promote this, and it is a pretty busy area anyway.” A second event will take place on the newly-redeveloped Spanish City esplanade, in Whitley Bay, on Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, June 15.
The Proper Food and Drink Festival will also return to North Shields after last year’s success and promises to be “bigger and better” than before.
“It’s all a very carnival atmosphere,” said Mike. “They will be a very chilled vibe with DJs playing world music and steel bands.
“The event is very full already, but we have left a few spaces for local producers in case they want to sign up.”
For more details, call 07904 187 644 or email email@example.com.