Despite the rain, floods of visitors descended on Westbridge Park as the Stone Food and Drink festival showed why it is Staffordshire’s best attended foodie festival!
More visitors than ever before attended the Stone Food and Drink Festival on Friday with traders reporting their best sales for what has traditionally been the quietest day of the event; with talks and demonstrations on the day drawing near capacity crowds. Saturday unfortunately proved the forecasters right, with the heavens opening and rain persistent throughout the event’s 8 hours of business.
Revellers, however, were undeterred and visitor levels were on a par with 2015’s record-breaking attendance. The Gourmet Marquee and Joule’s Beer Tent were packed all afternoon, whilst the Mercedes Benz of Stafford Talks and Tastings Tent and Platt’s Garage Group Demonstration Kitchen saw standing room only audiences across their entire schedules.
Sunshine and blue skies greeted visitors on festival Sunday, which once again saw record numbers through the gate. The ‘big weekend’ was the culmination of a whole week’s worth of foodie themed events taking place at local pubs, restaurants and businesses in Stone – including the new Tapas Trail and Stone Pubwatch Real Ale Trail.
Chairman Richard Stevens said:
“We are delighted with what has, in many ways, been a challenging year for the Festival. We began seeking new sponsorship to fill the gap left when Taste of Staffordshire’s support came to an end last year and have been humbled by the response of local businesses. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Platt’s Garage Group, Mercedes Benz of Stafford, Joule’s Brewery Brown’s Waste, Aston Marina, Dave Fox Cars, Tinsley Garner Estate Agents, The Hanley and Regent Travel for their support.
“The weather forecast also raised some concern, but having sold the highest ever number of advance tickets online the crowds were undeterred and we ended up welcoming record-breaking numbers of visitors on all three days. We’d like to thank everyone who turned up to support us – especially those who braved the elements on Saturday – and also a huge vote of thanks must go out to the small army of volunteers who kept smiling through the rain and mud to give everyone a warm welcome and who will now have the not insignificant task of helping clear the site over the coming days. We’re already looking forward to doing it all again in 2017!”