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Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink festival on August Bank Holiday cancelled

PUBLISHED: 12:25 22 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:25 22 June 2020

The Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink Festival was due to take place this August bank holiday weekend. Picture: ROB HOLDING

The Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink Festival was due to take place this August bank holiday weekend. Picture: ROB HOLDING

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The annual Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink festival, due to happen on the August Bank Holiday, has been cancelled due to Coronavirus restrictions.

The Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink festival was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGEThe Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink festival was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

The free-admission festival is one of the highlights of town’s year and has become Suffolk’s biggest such event.

There were due to be cooking demonstrations from top celebrity chefs, the chance to taste and purchase food and drink from over 100 stalls and a popular farmer’s market – with a man-made beach, fairground rides, street entertainment, and a mini farm for children.

The Business Improvement District (BID) founded the event in 2012 and recent years it has attracted approximately 35,000 people over a period of two days – a number organisers felt was too many to comply with social distancing.

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Thousands of people visit the Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink festival each year, making social distancing impossible.   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThousands of people visit the Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink festival each year, making social distancing impossible. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

William Bryant, chairman of the BID’s board of directors, said: “The hospitality sector has been hit particularly hard in this pandemic – with businesses currently still unable to open and likely to face considerable restrictions when they do.

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“The role of Our Bury St Edmunds is to support them through this challenging time and while the Food and Drink Festival usually celebrates all the town has to offer, our restaurants, cafes and bars will have different priorities this summer.

“We’ve taken this decision reluctantly after watching and waiting over the past three months in the hope it could have happened in a safe way.”

Mr Bryant added that while the decision was made reluctantly he hopes that next year the festival will return and Bury St Edmunds will continue to be regarded as ‘Suffolk’s foodie town’.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, said: “As the Event Manager for every BID organised event I always state that our number one priority is the health and safety of all who attend our events.

“We always attract tens of thousands of visitors to the Food and Drink Festival and with the current government guidelines we just couldn’t guarantee that it would be a Covid safe event to attend.

“It’s a sad decision to take but undoubtedly the right one this year.”

Anyone who had booked a stall for the event has been reassured they will be contacted by Our Bury St Edmunds in July regarding the refunds process.

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