26 June 2019

ORGANISERS of the Sunderland Food and Drink Festival are enjoying a taste of success, after crowds turned out across the weekend. (June 21 – 23)

The festival, which included demonstrations by celebrity chefs Jean Christophe Novelli, Dean Edwards and children’s favourite, Katy Ashworth, brought in thousands of visitors, who also enjoyed an international street food market and live entertainment.

The event, which took place in a number of streets in the city centre and was supported with activities at the Bridges, was created by Sunderland BID and Sunderland City Council.

And the response has been so positive that the plans are to repeat the festival in 2020.

A survey carried out during the festival received scores of positive comments including "It was great to see the city centre busy and I really enjoyed the food festival - I attended on the Friday (on my lunch break) and Saturday. Hope to see it back next year - even bigger and better."

"I was very impressed with the size of the event, the amount of stalls and variety on offer, fantastic.

"Lovely to have things going on in city centre. My boys loved bumping into a magician and watching his tricks!"

Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID, said the festival had been a huge success.

“We have been delighted with the response so far and people seemed to really enjoy all the activities on offer,” she said.

“The celebrity chefs were fantastic and so were the local bars and restaurants who took part. It gave us a great opportunity to showcase the city centre to a wider audience.

“We’re also taking on board some of the positive suggestions that we’ve received and we’ll be looking to include them in next year’s event.”

Cllr John Kelly, Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Communities and Culture said: "What a great weekend for Sunderland's first city centre food and drink festival.

“It was fantastic to see the city centre so busy, with people enjoying themselves in the sunshine. We listened to feedback from our event-goers last year and they said they wanted more food festivals.

“We're delighted that, working with Sunderland BID, we have delivered a really successful event and hopefully it will be the first of many."