Around 100,000 people tucked into tasty treats at this year’s Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival.
And the overwhelming response was: “Let’s have second helpings soon!”
Families, couples and groups of friends packed the town centre’s St George’s Square over the four-day event to sample a range of food and drink from local producers and exotic suppliers.
The busiest day was Saturday, when organisers say between 50,000 and 60,000 people attended.
The festival is organised by the Huddersfield Partnership, a not for profit organisation which signed up more than 90 stall holders for the event, now in its 15th year.
And they are thrilled with the reaction as Karen Hobson, Partnership manager, said: “We’ve had a really positive response from the general public.
“We’ve hit the 100,000 mark, and it’s likely the figure is higher than that, with up to 60,000 visitors on Saturday alone. Of course the nice weather has helped, but the general response has been great.”
They’re already thinking about plans for 2016– the three-strong team at the Partnership, plus volunteers, are looking are zoning areas, including a special artisan zone. They’d also like to expand the area for street stalls and say the chalets, new to this year, have worked well.
Karen added: “The council have been very supportive in terms of resources, we understand their money needs to be spent on helping young and older people from a financial point of view, but they’ve given us some manpower and helped in other ways.”
A Kirklees Council spokeswoman said: “The council is providing additional street cleaning and marketing support for this year’s Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival. The estimated costs of these items is circa £10,000.
“Any decision on our support in future years will need to be considered in the context of the overall financial position of the council.”
The Partnership has had a team of volunteers from the Midlands, Talent Match, who used it as a mentoring experience. Kirklees Council’s youth team evaluated it from a young person’s point of view, while Huddersfield University students have done research, all of which will be assessed before planning starts on 2016’s Festival.
There were huge crowds for each day of the four-day event, among them were friends Claire Sanderson, Leanne Fraser and Jennie Clarke were enjoying a Prosecco or two in the sun.
Claire, 28, a nursery nurse from Golcar, said: “You only need to look round at how busy it is so know it’s an event people want in the town.”
Stuart Holland and his partner Clare Cookson were among the visitors and Stuart, an engineer, said: “If anything could be improved for next year, I’d like to be able to buy small samples of lots of things as it would mean I can try more from different producers. Instead one or two things for a meal is quite pricey so it puts you off trying too much. Tapas-style would be good.”
Joanna Leigh, 42, of Kirkheaton, added: “It would be frivolous for a council to fund something like this, look at what the traders in Brighouse organise with the markets there done independently from the council.”
Mike Anderson, of Almondbury, added: “We try to buy from the stalls we know are local, it’s a good way of supporting local trade and business.”