People coming to this year’s Christchurch Food Festival on 6 and 7 May are being urged to use the ‘Park and Stride’ facility at Stanpit Recreation Ground or come by public transport.
Car parking is at a premium during the Festival weekend and visitors can often find themselves in traffic jams as cars circle the town looking for elusive spaces in car parks. To avoid this, there will be a paid-for Park & Stride car park operating over the weekend costing £5 for the whole day. This is at Stanpit Recreation Ground, and will be operated by the local Air Traffic Corps (ATC). The Recreation Ground can be found half way down Stanpit on the outskirts of Christchurch at BH23 3NA. Visitors can then enjoy a pleasant walk to the centre of Christchurch via the cycle path, around the rear of the Civic Offices and then along Bridge Street and Castle Street straight to the Festival Market. This is a flat 10 – 15 minute walk and is suitable for wheelchairs and buggies.
Sue Harmon-Smith, Chairman of the Food Festival Organising Committee, said: “We want to make sure that people enjoy everything the Festival has to offer without getting tied up in traffic, which is why we have put on this new ‘Park and Stride’ facility. There was an additional problem last year when the traffic lights in Castle Street failed. This year we are employing a special traffic management team who will be able to use temporary traffic lights to help ease any traffic jams.”
The Festival again boasts the popular Festival Market with stalls the length of the High Street and the Festival Village on the Quomps at Christchurch Quay. Highlights on Saturday 6 May and Sunday 7 May include the Lovett Demonstration Marquee with free demonstrations from local chefs and celebrity chefs including Dean Edwards, Master Chef Winner and resident chef on ITV’s Lorraine and Lesley Waters, the Festival’s Patron as well as chocolatier Alana Spencer who was the 2016 winner of BBC’s The Apprentice. Also in the Festival Village will be a range of stalls selling food and drink including a Beer Festival.
The Quomps will also be the new home for Kids’ Kitchen giving children a chance to try their hands at preparing some tasty dishes either on their own or with a parent or guardian. Tickets for the Kids’ Kitchen sessions are selling fast and can be bought from The Regent Centre online or in person.
In Saxon Square for the first time we are welcoming Broil who will be demonstrating BBQing – not only for people to watch but to have a go as well.
A number of special events take place during the main Festival weekend including on Friday 5 May the Perfect Hoedown Throwdown – a lively evening of great food and dancing to the famous Celidh band Black Sheep. On Saturday 6 May in the evening, Dean Edwards will be demonstrating some of his signature dishes and this will be followed by supper and entertainment. Both events are ticketed so visit the Festival website for more information and to book tickets.