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All aboard the food festival water bus

Richard Stevens with Aston Marina chefs Andrew Keeling and Roseanna Moseley

Visitors to the eighth annual Stone Food and Drink Festival on the 5th, 6th and 7th October will have the chance to arrive at the Westbridge Park site in true style, courtesy of a new addition to Aston Marina’s Park & Ride service.

The marina’s open cruiser ‘Tripper’ will work alongside the traditional buses to ferry revellers to and from the event via Stone’s historic canal network, providing the opportunity to take in the scenery and wildlife during the leisurely cruise. The addition provides a novel way for visitors to reach the festival while avoiding potential town centre parking issues.

Festival chairman Richard Stevens said: “The Park & Ride, very kindly hosted by Aston Marina, has been key in the growth and success of the festival year on year. The event attracts a lot of people into Stone, so to avoid issues with parking we decided at an early stage that park and ride was the best option. The new water bus is a really fun addition to this essential service, and I’m sure that many festival-goers will find it really adds to their overall experience. I am lucky enough to have been taken on a trial run of the route and it really is fascinating to see Stone from the water – it’s a totally different perspective!”

And it’s not just through the provision of the Park & Ride service that Aston Marina will get involved with the 2012 Stone Food & Drink Festival – two chefs from the venue’s highly regarded restaurant, The Bistro, will take the stage in the demonstration kitchen. Head chef Andrew Keeling will showcase the kind of seasonal, locally sourced ingredients that are key to the creation of his menus while, fresh from her recent success as runner-up in the 2012 Taste of Staffordshire Young Chef of the Future competition, Roseanna Moseley will present her winning dishes.

The water bus service from Aston Marina to the festival site will take around 25 to 30 minutes and will cost £5 per person each way, with advance booking strongly recommended (bus park & ride service £2 per person return). Call Kat Barker on 01785 819702 for more information. Meanwhile, to avoid queues to enter the festival itself, weekend or single day tickets are available at www.stonefooddrink.org.uk 

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