STONE’S annual feast of food festivities could be in line for a record result following a surge in attendance compared to last year.
Visitor numbers at this weekend’s Stone Food and Drink Festival were up on Friday and Saturday, compared to the same days last year, festival chairman Richard Stevens told the Newsletter.
Speaking on Saturday he said: “The festival is going superb. It has all the signs of being a record year.
“The pop up restaurant is the success of the show and the piano bar has been full all day.”
The fine dining restaurant and piano bar were new additions to the festival line up this year, organised by The Moat House at Acton Trussell and Old School Wines of Tittensor. As well as serving lunches during the day the restaurant was open, by advance booking only, at night after the main festival closed.
Favourites including cookery demonstrations by top local chefs and the gourmet food marquee also made a welcome return and visitors were able to buy anything from local specialities, including oatcakes, to the more exotic, such as kangaroo burgers.
Thousands of foodies came to Westbridge Park for the festival weekend, from international visitors to Stone residents who attend regularly.
Friends John Barnett and Steve Pickering, from Stone, said: “It’s really busy – busier than last year.”
Julia Phillips of Forsbrook, who visited the festival with her mother Joan, said: “We came here three years ago and I think there is more here than last time.”
Friends Andy Crockett and Ian Clifford, also from Stone, said: “It’s been a vintage year and there is very good produce here.”
Exhibitors also enjoyed their time at the festival, including Stafford’s Amarpal Harrer, who chose the event to launch his new cookery school, Icookindian, which teaches people how to produce authentic homestyle Indian dishes.
He said: “The response has been phenomenal and we have taken lots of bookings.”
Tina Clare, who runs Stone town centre bakery Home Baked, said business was booming both in their High Street store and at their Westbridge Park stand during festival weekend.
“We stepped in to serve oatcakes and it has been fantastic – even better than we expected”, she said.
“We have had Staffordshire people wanting oatcakes and those who have never tried them before.”