County Durham’s foodies made the most of the sunshine and showers to enjoy this year’s Seaham Food Festival.
Thousands of people visited the Durham County Council festival over the weekend to support independent traders, boost business recovery and enjoy two days of outdoor theatre, music and taster activities.
Traders and town centre businesses have thanked the local community for their support following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Melanie Wood, of The Lamp Room in Seaham, said: “It has been a fantastic weekend and we are really delighted that the festival has been able to go ahead. There has been a brilliant atmosphere and the boost to business has been incredibly welcome after the challenges of the previous 18 months.
“Even more importantly, the festival is a great way to highlight all that Seaham has to offer. We have a beautiful marina and seafront and so many independent traders in the town and we look forward to welcoming visitors back soon for a return visit.”
As the council bids to become UK City of Culture 2025, Seaham Food Festival is one of a number of events helping to showcase the county’s cultural offer as well as building on the county’s reputation for culinary excellence.
Visitors have enjoyed a weekend full of flavour, with a host of delicious worldwide dishes on offer from traders and demonstrations from some of TV’s favourite chefs including cooking stalwart Rosemary Shrager, The Great British Bake Off favourite, Karen Wright, star of Steph’s Packed Lunch, John Whaite, who has been confirmed as one of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing contestants in the show’s first all-male duo and TV presenter Chris Bavin.
Chris said: “I have had a brilliant time; I love the festival and love the people. It has been fantastic to see so many people coming together to find out more about food and engage with local traders. And, what better place to do that than in Seaham with such a stunning backdrop.”
Karen said “ I have enjoyed the whole weekend here in Seaham and what an experience to come to County Durham. The highlight of the weekend was the warm welcome I received from the audience and their participation during my demonstrations. ”
Following the pandemic, organisers put a number of measures in place across the weekend to support public safety and help all those involved feel more confident.
Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “I am thrilled that the return of Seaham Food Festival has proved such a success this weekend, with the local community making the most of all that the town has to offer.
“The event has helped to support traders from across the county, and beyond, as well as providing a welcome boost to local businesses. After a challenging 18 months, it is fantastic to see businesses getting back on track and to see communities coming together once again.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in making this weekend happen. A lot of hard work has gone into organising the weekend and ensuring its success and we are all so grateful for everyone’s efforts.”