Food and arts festival at Poundbury

ONE of Dorset’s most popular food events, the free Dorset Food & Arts Festival returns to Queen Mother Square at Poundbury on Saturday 3rd August from 9am to 5pm.

The day always showcases the very best that Dorset has to offer with a huge array of stallholders, a packed programme of  cooking demonstrations and live music. This year festival patron and much-loved television chef and cookery school owner Lesley Waters will start the demonstrations, which will also include Russell Brown, who had the Michelin-starred Siena in Dorchester for many years.

The festival was originally held in 2012 as a one-off celebration of the best of Dorset produce, in the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics but included the sailing competitions at Weymouth and Portland. Now run and managed by Dorset Food & Drink, a not for profit Community Interest Company, the festival has always been supported by the Duchy of Cornwall and sponsored by local businesses.

There will be more than 80 local food, drink and art stalls, including the regular Poundbury Dorset Farmers’ Market stallholders. It’s a wonderful opportunity for locals and visitors to meet Dorset’s world-class food producers and some of the region’s talented artists and makers.

Keeping the festival as green as possible, the stallholders are encouraged to use biodegradable or recyclable cups and dishes. Look out for the festival’s reusable branded pint cups and enjoy a locally-made tipple.

As well as Lesley Waters and Russell Brown, the other guests in the demo kitchen will be Andy Chu and Sarah Ali Choudhury, and as always there will be the popular butchery demonstration by the Brace of Butchers.

On the music stage the performers will include the Weymouth Ukuleleans, local sea shanty group Dorset Wrecks plus other local groups and singers throughout the day.

Theis year’s festival is supporting four local charities each offering activities for children – Encompass Dorset, Go Girls, Artsreach and the Alcohol Education Trust will be raising awareness and inviting children to decorate a cupcake, make a bughouse or join in with arts and crafts.

Artsreach will be sharing a stand with Deepest Books, selling the recently published Deepest Wiltshire as well as Deepest Dorset, which has so far donated £40,000 to Dorset Community Foundation, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Weldmar Hospice and the Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat.

For more details visit www.dorsetfestival.org where you will find a full list of stallholders, the programme and information about the sponsors and charities.