Big appetites, unquenchable thirsts and a mostly sun-drenched square made this year’s Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival a resounding success.
More than 100,000 people gobbled up over 80,000 pints of beer, 10,000 curries and even 2,000 crocodile stir fries at the four day event, which transformed St George’s Square into a foodies’ heaven.
Even Sunday’s inclement weather could not keep away the crowds, who quickly filled the square as soon as the heavens closed and kept warm by the dozens of flaming hot grills.
Visitors were left drooling over their choice of 90 stalls, which offered an international smorgasbord of food from Mongolia and Cote D’Ivoire to the USA, celebrating the town’s vibrant multicultural scene.
It was a sell out for many local producers, which make up 70% of the stallholders, with Barrington Douglas’ jerk pork pies, Yorkshire hot dogs and Spicy Kitchen’s curries flying off the counters.
And according to a tongue in cheek sign, panda bear burgers were also off the menu.
Over 12,000 people flocked to the square on a warm and sunny Saturday night, the most the festival has held in one go for the last few years.
It was the first time that Huddersfield Partnership events manager, Hayley MacDonald, had helped to organise the event, which has been running in the town for 14 years.
Despite a large lack of sleep, she said: “It’s been fantastic.
“In the past I’ve just been a visitor so to oversee it has been a great experience.
“Saturday was incredible - you couldn’t move for the sea of people.
“Even the rain on Sunday had its benefits as it cleared all the alcohol off the streets from the night before.
“People have been spending up to £80 in one go here. It’s been a great boost for the profiles of local produce and it’s even brought more people to other parts of the town.”
She was hopeful that donation buckets to this year’s chosen charity, The Welcome Centre, would also be fit to burst.
Meanwhile, chef Phil Leverington, who compered the cooking demonstration tent for the first time this year, commended the town’s atmosphere.
He said: “It’s been fantastic.
“To teach people new ways to cook is a wonderful experience and Huddersfield has such a great vibe, whatever the weather.
“It’s great to have something like this on your doorstep.”
Spicy Kitchen owner, Aslam Muhammad, thinks that next year he may even need more food than before to satisfy the appetites of hungry diners.
He said: “We sold out of everything on Saturday, it was incredible.”