Barbecue demos and music in store at Smoke & Fire Festival in Colchester

Some of the barbecue food at Smoke & Fire Festival, which is taking place in Castle Park, Colchester

Some of the barbecue food at Smoke & Fire Festival, which is taking place in Castle Park, Colchester - Credit: Smoke & Fire Festival,

The UK's largest barbecue festival, Smoke & Fire Festival, is taking place in Colchester's Castle Park from Friday, August 20 to Sunday, August 22.

The festival is raising money for Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, and 250 free tickets are being given to NHS staff.

The event starts at 6.30-10.30pm on Friday, with a 1990s revival launch party, including music from Oasis tribute band Oasish as well as DJs. Opening hours on Saturday are from 10.30am to 8.30pm and on Sunday from 10.30am to 6.30pm.

A man cooking barbecue food at the Smoke & Fire Festival, taking place in Colchester

Barbecue food will be celebrated at the Smoke & Fire Festival in Castle Park, Colchester - Credit: Smoke & Fire Festival

There will be cooking demonstrations, including vegetarian and vegan barbecue dishes, as well as displays of the latest outdoor cooking trends and equipment.

There will also be two live music stages and roaming entertainers, and the Great British Open BBQ Championship.

Ashley Peniston-Bird, managing director of Essex-based Smoke & Fire, said: "It's great to be back. We launched in 2017 with a festival in Promenade Park in Maldon, and it has just grown and grown."

 Covid has inevitably disrupted the festival and meant events had to be cancelled last year.

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However, Mr Peniston-Bird said the pandemic has actually led to barbecues becoming even more popular, as more people are entertaining family and friends in their own gardens following easing of restrictions.

Covid safety measures will be in place at the event. 

To book tickets, visit the Smoke & Fire website.

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