Bury St Edmunds: Rain doesn’t put a dampener on food and drink festival

Jamie Constable, Lamen Reddy, and Anna Hewett-Emmett serve up Mexican food at the El Taco Loco food

Jamie Constable, Lamen Reddy, and Anna Hewett-Emmett serve up Mexican food at the El Taco Loco food stall at the Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink Festival. - Credit: Su Anderson

Thousands of people visited Bury St Edmunds over the Bank Holiday weekend to sample the flavours of its popular two-day food and drink festival.

And while yesterday the weather was wet compared to the sunshine of the previous day, the town is still thought to have been busier than on an average Monday.

Real draws of the festival, which is organised by Ourburystedmunds, included demonstrations by celebrity chefs Lesley Waters and Brian Turner - known for their many television appearances in shows such as Ready Steady Cook - the huge variety and food and drink stalls and the seaside activities at the Arc shopping centre.

Anthony Lewis, who had travelled from Bedfordshire for the event, said Mr Turner was a highlight.

He said: “The weather was rather better [on Sunday], but okay, it’s damp, but it’s not put a dampener on things. I’m surprised to see quite so many people here today. Actually the rain doesn’t seem to have put them off.”

John Walters, who was running a stall for his company, English Spirit Distillery, agreed, saying even in the rain the footfall had been “very acceptable”.

“We are ardent followers of the festival and it’s growing nicely,” he said. “For someone walking through it’s a great day-out. And it’s eclectic and representative of artisan producers in the area, which is what you would come to these events for.”

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Mr Lewis said there was a much more relaxed feel to this festival compared to others he had been to, and an added benefit is that it is free entry.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of the Ourburystedmunds business group, estimated about 7,000 to 8,000 had been drawn to the festival on the Sunday.

“Obviously nicer weather today [Monday] would have been welcome but overall the event continues to achieve what we want it to: raising the profile of the town and bringing more visitors to the town for our businesses.”

Colin Roberts, manager of the Arc, which was taking part in the event for the first time this year, said one shop had reported their sales were up 40% on Sunday compared to the same day the previous year.

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