A preview of the 2011 Nantwich Food and Drink Festival

Purveryors of fine food and drink head to Nantwich this month as the town hosts its second free 'feastival'

Nantwich Food and Drink Festival will transform the historic town into a paradise for foodies over the weekend of September 23-25 and give a boost to business.

Previously it was a paid-for event, attracting some 10,000 food-lovers to Mill Island. But last year a new committee of volunteers dropped the entrance charge, moved the venue to the town centre, and trebled the attendance. Now Nantwich Food and Drink Festival Ltd, a not-for-profit organisation, is in full swing and has lined up a vast array of regionally produced gourmet foods, beer and wine tastings and more than 2,000 products to sample.

Festival chairman Graham Fenton said: ‘The big difference about this event is that it is free to anyone who enjoys good food and a great atmosphere. The turn-out last year went beyond our wildest dreams and now, with only a few weeks to go, there’s a real buzz about town. More traders are involved, many staging demonstrations in their shops. It really looks set to be an even bigger and better festival.’

Sites include Churchyardside, Pillory Street, Cocoa Yard, the Methodist Church and the White Swan car park.

Nantwich Civic Hall will be transformed into the Gourmet Food Hall with up to 50 stalls showcasing fine food and drink from across the UK and Europe.

A farmers’ market will fill the town square with fresh produce and plans are in the pipeline to set up a marquee behind St Mary’s Church. Music, dance and drama will be provided by local performers.

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The main sponsors are Cheshire East Council and Crewe-based cereal producer, Mornflake. New to support the festival this year are Crewe Audi and Nantwich security and stewarding company, the ESTC Group.

For more information visit www.nantwichfoodfestival.co.uk.

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