Wellington Food Town Festival may have opened in gentle rain but it ended in glorious sunshine with bumper crowds enjoying a feast of food and entertainment throughout the day.
Donna Munson, Chairperson of Wellington Food Fair, paid tribute to her committee – John Pragnell, Richard Coupe and Fred Domelhoff – and 20 volunteers who were present all day and then responsible for the clear-up. “They’ve all been invaluable,” Donna said. “The success of the Food Festival this year is due to them. We have 61 pitches – not including the Farmers’ Market – which is a third more than last year and we’ve introduced cooking demonstrations for the first time. It was our idea but it’s been funded by Somerset County Council through the Fish and Chip Shop Project.”
The success of last year’s Food Town Festival attracted this year’s impressive range of stalls selling food from around the world – Ceylon spices, biltong from South Africa, Indian curries, Japanese sushi, herbs, oils and olives from Spain Italy and Greece and pastries from around the Mediterranean. Closer to home, stalls selling local meats, fish, ciders, beers and Somerset wine, pork pies and burgers, cheeses, chocolates, bread, cakes, sweets, preserves and fruit amply illustrated both the diversity and quality of local food – almost all of them coming from small producers and food retailers in the area.
But there was more than just food on offer: cookery demonstrations from Maia English, Brad Edrich, The Somerset Curry Club and Stefano Salvati showed audiences what can be done with simple produce, and entertainment in both the High Street and South Street kept large crowds happy. A Kidzone in the Conservative Club Car Park, a bouncy castle outside South Street Baptist Church and Somerset County Council’s cookie decorating were provided for children.
Mayor David Mitton said, “It’s such a lovely atmosphere here today. It’s good to see that so many people have come out to support the Festival. The volunteers have been tremendous.” Wellington Town Councillor and former Mayor, Vivienne Stock-Williams, added, “I think we must now make this a permanent fixture in the town’s activities. It’s drawn people from the local community and the wider area to Wellington and it’s wonderful to see so many people here. It’s important for the town.” Rebecca Pow, who will be fighting next year’s General Election as Taunton Deane’s Conservative candidate, said how impressed she was with the event: “It looks as though it’s a huge success,” she said.