THOUSANDS of hungry visitors are set to descend on Nantwich over the weekend September 5-7 for its annual celebration of all things food.

More than 30,000 people flocked to Nantwich Food and Drink Festival 2013 helping to set tills ringing across town.

Organisers predict another major crowd-puller as they put the finishing touches to a programme featuring more attractions, late night Friday opening and giant marquees housing delicacies from across the globe.

Families can tuck into Greek, Spanish or Turkish foods, try haggis and ostrich or feast on old English classics.
The event, billed as ‘the biggest and tastiest food festival in the country’ includes traders from all over the world.

This year’s festival sees two of the area’s top name companies – Mornflake and Bentley – put their branding on huge gourmet food halls sited on the Bowling Green and Love Lane car-parks.

The town square will host a seated Food Theatre – headlined by cookery school celebrity Brian Mellor and with presentations by chefs from top Cheshire restaurants including Rookery Hall and Peckforton Castle.

Food and craft stalls will be dotted at open venues across town including Churchyardside, Pepper Street and the Cocoa Yard.

Fun activities include the launch of ‘Nantwich Potato Bowling Championship – think boules but with potatoes!’ That takes place at the White Horse pub on Pillory Street while the nearby Nantwich Museum offers children a chance to learn about bees and their importance in our food.

Hungry contestants will line up for Man V Food – a belly-busting highlight on the festival calendar. This year they take on a whopper Dabber sausage in a giant bap to raise money for St Luke’s Hospice.

A new venue is Dysart Buildings where legal eagles from Hall Smith Whittingham join with the Women’s Farming Union to host a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

Marks and Spencer in Nantwich is helping the festival spread further with food tastings, flower arranging and fun with wet sponges at its Beam Street store. Next door the library has games and competitions.

Visitors can find cocktail-making at Residence Bar, pizza-making at Firenze Restaurant and heavenly desserts at the Methodist Church.

Festival chairman Deborah Robb said: “The festival is creating a great buzz about town. Over the past two weekends, volunteers have handed out maps on the town square and the feedback has been fantastic.

“People tell us they can’t wait and our website is getting hundreds of hits daily.”
This year the festival stays open late on Friday when professional fire-breathers, stilt-walkers and jugglers will help create a party atmosphere.

New also is a mobile phone app, My Local Guru, which visitors can download free of charge to help them navigate their way round town and make the most of all the attractions.”