Crowds flocked to Beccles on Saturday for the town’s 5th Food and Drink Festival.
The free one-day event, whose aim is to showcase local artisan producers and to bring visitors to the town, proved hugely popular, with many stalls selling out. Set in New Market, the Public Hall, around and inside St. Michael’s Church, 75 stalls sold a wide variety of food and drink products catering for all tastes and food intolerances. The more unusual ones among them were stalls selling Balkan cooking pottery, honey products, Moroccan and Oriental savoury pies, air dried beef snacks and natural dog treats. Mouth-watering world street food was on offer for hungry visitors, including wood fired Mediterranean kebabs, Indian curries and snacks, Vietnamese Banh Mi, Porchetta rolls and Greek Cypriot Souvlaki.
The large crowds were entertained throughout the event by many musicians and bands who were positioned around the Grazing Trail of stalls, while the little ones enjoyed Punch and Judy shows near the church terrace. Marshals from Helping Hands were present to hand out programmes and advise visitors, and Festival Crier Yanny Mac kept everyone informed of events happening around the various sites. In the Public Hall, along with stalls selling beer brought over from Rouen, olives, baklava, biltong, chocolate and fudge, a food theatre run by East Coast College demonstrated the skill of local chefs and students. During the demonstrations, sausages from eight butchers from the Beccles area had their products judged by a blind tasting, with Beccles based W. J. Seppings winning the Battle of the Beccles bangers trophy, with D. J. Barnard from the Farmers Market runners up and Chambers Butchers in Beccles third.
A free Park and Ride shuttle service from a car park at the Quay, manned by Beccles Lions and using Bungay Area Community Transport minibuses, ensured a steady stream of visitors were able to enjoy the Festival without causing traffic congestion in the town centre.
Paul Parravani, who founded the Beccles Business and Tourism Association backed event and leads the small team of volunteers organising the Festival commented “this was our largest and by far our most successful event day. The weather has been perfect, and all the traders and visitors we spoke to had enjoyed a very successful and enjoyable day. Everything has gone very smoothly, considering the logistics involved”.
The Festival’s first Fringe, two weeks of events hosted by local eateries, food and drink producers, has been well supported, and this draws to a close with a special Farmers Market at Ellough on Saturday 1st June, celebrating British lamb, while the Waveney House Hotel is running a further weekend of a Suffolk menu featuring local produce.
Next year’s Festival day has already been set for Saturday 23rd May. See you then!
The organising committee are taking the summer off and will start preparing for 2020 later in the year.
A HUGE thankyou to everyone who took part, helped and of course attended we hope you enjoyed the day.
If you have any comments or suggestions for improvements or competitions for next year or if you would like to help on the day, because without volunteers the event would be impossible, please feel free to send a message via the contact form below.
See you on Saturday 23rd May 2020.
The Beccles Food & Drink Festival Organising Committee.
The winners of this year’s competition have been drawn from the box full of entries and they will be contacted very soon with confirmation of their prize.
If you have not heard by 1st June then please try again next year. Good Luck.
Battle of the Beccles Bangers
This year we held a competition to see who the public would vote and the Best Beccles Banger and the winner was Seppings Sausages.
Congratulations and here is a picture of them receiving the trophy.
As the Fringe is now over programmes are no longer but you can still view a PDF version by selecting the button below:
This years Fringe is now complete and all of the events were very popular so thank you to all of the hosts and get your thinking caps on for something even more spectacular in 2020.
Attended the 2019 Beccles Food & Drink Festival
167 Catering Support Regiment
Ailsa’s Country Cream Fudge
Ampersand Brew Co
Barkers of Suffolk
Beccles Twinning Association
Blackbird Cottage Fine Foods
Burch & Suffolk Preserves
Cakes to Celebrate
Carol’s Cakes & Bakes
Carr Farm Geese
Chet & Waveney Vineyard
Clinks Care Farm
DJ Wines Ltd
E A Mayhew & Sons
East Norfolk Trading
ES Burroughs & Son
Fen Farm Dairy
Graze at The White Horse
Harris & James
Help for Heroes Charity
Henstead Exotic Gardens
Hog & Ale
Kenton Hall Longhorn Beef
Kim’s Norfolk Kitchen
Leanne’s Fudge Bar
Mayflower Arts & Crafts
McCarthy’s Country Store
Nanna Lee’s Pantry
Parravani’s Ice Cream
Pepperells Meats Ltd
Riverford Organic Farmers
Scarlett & Mustard
St Peter’s Brewery
Suffolk Coffee Pod
The Bon Bakery
The Fresh Sauce Co
The Galley Cookshop
The May Centre
The Norfolk Truffle Co
The Penny Bun Bakehouse
The Souvlaki Shack
The Suffolk Distillery
The Suffolk Pate Company
The Tiny Tipple Company
The Wrap Bar
Truly Traceable Venison & Game
Valley Farm Vineyards
Waveney Valley Smokehouse
Yare Valley Oils
Yum Yum Tree Fudge
How to get to the Festival!
Planning to visit the Festival?
With good bus and rail links, and hubs within a 5 minute walk of the town centre, we recommend arriving by public transport. A FREE Park & Ride service will operate on Festival day from Beccles Quay Car Park (NR34 9BH). Follow the Festival Car Park signs on the day.
Key locations in the town on the Day
Marked on the map below are the locations of the Park & Ride and Traders Car Park. Plus the major locations of the festival itself with stalls in the Public Hall, Church and around the centre of town.
Cookery Theatre Schedule 2019
||Chef Mark Dixon from The Kings Arms at Fleggburgh gives a demonstration from ingredients that he gathers whilst visiting the stalls at this year’s festival
||East Coast College student cookery demonstration
How to make a simple tasty dish at home using a cheaper cut of meat
||Talk by winemaker John Hemmant from Chet & Waveney Valley Vineyard
||Battle of the Bangers (cooked by East Coast College students)
Local butchers pit their sausages against each other, judged by YOU, come on they need your vote!! Judging to start 12:45
||Chef instructor Marie Taylor cooks a game dish from the local estate at Sotterley
||Chef James Santello brings us one of his dishes from the kitchens of the Dukes Head in Somerleyton
||A cookery demonstration on the preparation, cooking and tasting of flash fried squid
Gallery of images from 2019
Photo credits: Dominic Parkes
If you would like to contact the Food Festival Committee please use the form below: