North Shields Food Festival to kick off 2017 calendar

The North Shields Proper Food and Drink Festival in 2016. Picture by Callum Thompson.
The North Shields Proper Food and Drink Festival in 2016. Picture by Callum Thompson.

A popular food festival is heading back to North Shields as it kicks off a summer of events.

Tens of thousands of people have attended the North Shields Proper Food and Drink Festival since it started in 2012.

Shelley and Mark Deakin.

Shelley and Mark Deakin.

And this year’s event in Northumberland Square will be held over the early May Bank Holiday weekend, allowing an extra day for visitors to see the stalls, bars and stages featuring around 60 producers.

Mark Deakin who, along with his wife Shelley, organises the events, said: “It’s the perfect location.

“The first Proper Food and Drink Festival was held here and it proved to be a great recipe for success.”

As well as North Shields, festivals will be held throughout the spring and summer in South Shields, Whitley Bay, Cramlington and new locations in Gateshead and Blyth.

In 2016, the North Shields Proper Food and Drink Festival was the last one of the year.

This year, it is the first, running from 10am to 5pm from Saturday, April 29, to Monday, May 1.

Mark said: “We’ll have producers offering the very best, whether that’s inspired by traditional local food and drink or influenced by countries across the globe.”

Because of their success, a number of the producers have been able to turn their passions into careers and even open restaurants and cafes.

Visitors can shop, eat and drink while being entertained by live music.

Shelley said: “It’s a festival, not just a market.”

“We want people to come along and enjoy everything there is on offer.”

After North Shields, the festival visits South Shields on May 27, 28 and 29; the Whitley Bay Proper Food festival is at the Spanish City Plaza on June 17 and 18 June.

It heads to Cramlington on July 29 and 30, before heading to Saltwell Park in Gateshead on August 5 and 6; and Ridley Park in Blyth on August 12 and 13.

In-between times the Deakins are also busy putting the finishing touches to the highly successful North East Chilli Fest – which has a new look and new location this year – and, for the first time, the Great North Feast.

The Chilli Fest is being held in Seaton Sluice from June 30 to July 2. The Great North Feast takes place in Bents Park, South Shields, from August 25 to 28.