Iain Thompson

Tiverton Food & Drink Festival 2011 – Thank you so much

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Iain Thompson

Sometimes you’ve just got to go for it and stick it all on the line. Such was the case for Tiverton’s first Food & Drink Festival.

I remember back to early January this year chatting and having coffee with Geoff, co -organiser and Deli Chef partner, about the need for Tiverton to do something food wise that would put both it and The Deli Shack on the map. It was a particularly nasty cold and rainy day and as it is on such days, inspiration was in desperately short supply. Everything seemed too difficult, too expensive or just too ‘airy fairy’.

Then just about the time the kettle boiled for the third time and coffee was threatening to leak out of our ears – WHAM!

A food festival, sponsored by The Deli Shack, held at the Pannier Market in Tiverton!

Could it work?

Would they let us do it?

How much would it cost?

Would anybody care enough to come?

Well, like I said, sometimes you just have to put it all on the line – so off we tramped through the rain and slush to see Chris Firth, manager of the Pannier Market to put our brand new idea to him.

Fast forward to the Sunday, May 8 on a beautiful early summers day, Geoff and I dressed in our whites standing side by side watching thousands of people enjoying the Tiverton Food & Drink Festival – sponsored by The Deli Shack!

I can’t begin to tell you how that felt, probably somewhere between hysteria and pure relief with just a touch of self righteous smugness. I hope you’ll forgive the latter as we pulled the whole thing together in just three months, which isn’t bad even if we do say so ourselves. And I have to say, even though I’m not obliged to, that Mid Devon Council made the whole thing as painless as possible and even stuck their hands in their pockets into the bargain!

We had over 3,000 people come and enjoy a fabulous array of food related entertainment including a real ale bar, cookery theatre, food stalls galore, crafts and hot food vendors doing speciality fayre including hot smoked meats & tapas, filled crêpes and Jamaican curries. Then just to make the whole thing swing we had a superb band called Count To Fire playing a mix of country and folk rock throughout the day.

Yes, I think we can call that one a success, although even as I write this article I can think of dozens of things that I’d like to do better or differently. Such is the short lived nature of any success and the need to learn and move on.

It was fabulous feeling for all of the traders to see so many people from all over the region coming to enjoy the sights and sounds of our foodie festival and show real enthusiasm in what everyone was doing.

I don’t know what happens next, when I do I guess I’ll probably write about it. But in the mean time if you’re reading this and attended the festival then let me give you a big hug and say thank you so much. If you missed it this year then no doubt we’ll have one next year and I’d love you to come and enjoy it with us next time.

There’s bound to be loads of small food events in Devon throughout the summer, even it’s just your local village fete, so please support your community and have a whale of time…

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