Bursting with foodie fun and goodness, the free annual Dorset Food & Arts Festival returns to Queen Mother Square next Saturday and we simply can’t wait.
The day is set to showcase the very best that Dorset has to offer with a huge array of stallholders and a packed programme of mouth-watering events, cooking demonstrations and live music.
Celebrity chef and new Festival patron Lesley Waters is set to officially open the sixth Dorset Food & Arts Festival and the chef’s kitchen.
The Festival, held as always on the Saturday closest to the late Queen Mother’s birthday, follows the successful pattern of previous years with free entry for all.
Dorset Food & Arts Festival was originally held in 2012 as a one-off celebration of the best of Dorset produce, in the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics Games, in London and at Weymouth and Portland.
From the start, the Festival was generously supported by the Duchy of Cornwall, and sponsored by local businesses, including Waitrose, which has a store on Queen Mother Square, and Hall & Woodhouse, which has the new Duchess of Cornwall Inn on the Square.
It’s all about the world-class local produce and there will be more than 50 local food and drink stalls to peruse and sample, including the regular Poundbury Dorset Farmers’ Market stallholders. This is a fantastic opportunity for festival-goers to meet the producers and find out more about the provenance of the food and drink lovingly made in the county.
There will also be the chance to buy one of the exclusive festival pint cups this year and celebrate all things Dorset with a refreshing locally-made tipple.
One of the most popular facets for the Festival are demonstrations by food experts and chefs, which this year include Lesley Waters, Mark Hartstone of La Fosse and Luke Stuart of WhitePepper chef academy & cookery school.
There will also be a return of the popular butchery demonstration, this year by Poundbury’s own Brace of Butchers.
Of course, with all this top notch fare you need entertainment and this will be provided by music from local singers and groups all day. These include a fabulous musical line up featuring Dorchester Performing Arts, Dorset’s Got Talent winner DF Beatz and much more.
There’s also many activities for children and families are invited to take part.
For the first time this year, the Festival will have a major visual arts focus with paintings, ceramics and photography on show and a demonstration by one of Dorset’s best known potters. This will be held in the Jubilee Hall on Queen Mother Square.
This year the Festival will be supporting four local charities, Weldmar Hospicecare, Fortuneswell Cancer Trust, The Dorchester Opportunity Group and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution. Since 2012, the Dorset Food & Arts Festival has gone from strength to strength and every year it raises thousands of pounds for local causes.
Each year the festival is managed by a committee of volunteers and the last festival alone raised more than £5,000 for local charity Weldmar Hospicecare Trust.
In total the festival has raised more than £13,000 for local charities.
This sixth Dorset Food & Arts Festival will also be a tribute to Jo Yeatman, who was a founding member of the Dorset Food and Arts Festival committee who died peacefully at the beginning of May.
As secretary of Dorset Farmers’ Market, she was involved with the Festival from the start. Throughout the Festival’s history Jo was instrumental in organising the food and drink producer stalls.
Christine Walsh of the Duchy of Cornwall described her as ‘our lovely Jo’ and as an “absolute lynch pin of the organisation as well as being a great support and friend to us all.”
As a fitting tribute to Jo, who was not only a fabulous cook but such an advocate for Dorset produce, the Festival are publishing a recipe book that will be available to buy at the Festival. The book will feature contributions from the chefs, food producers, Festival patrons and the committee.
All monies raised from the sale of the book will be donated to Dorset Farmers’ Markets and charity.
The Dorset Food & Arts Festival will be open from 9am to 5pm in Queen Mother Square on Saturday 5 August.
Hungry for more? Head over to the festival website for more information, a full list of stallholders and programme please visit www.dorsetfestival.org
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