Crowds flock to Whitley Bay food festival
Thousands of people flocked to Whitley Bay as a popular festival drew in the crowds.
More than 60 stalls were set up on the Spanish City Plaza for the Proper Food and Drink Festival last weekend.
Glorious sunshine helped boost the attendance, with a host of refreshing drinks and food provided by local producers.
It was the fourth year organisers and Mark and Shelley Deakin have brought the festival to Whitley Bay.
Among the hits was sparkling lemonade, homemade by Nathan Bye of Tap Garden.
Nathan, from Whitley Bay, set up the business a year ago after years of travelling abroad.
He said: “We thought we would give it a go and it seems to be doing alright.”
Hatch76, the brainchild of Alex Hindson – the former head chef for the Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums – is another new local business with a distinctive presence at this summer’s festivals.
Alex, from Gateshead, says he is re-inventing the sandwich with the help of his refurbished and multi-functional 1976 Peugeot van.
“We spend millions and millions of pounds on sandwiches every year, but they’re mass produced, put in a box and stuck in a fridge,” he said.
“People want quality. People also want to support local businesses. That’s particularly true in the North East.”
Next up for the organisers and stallholders is the North East Chilli Fest. For its sixth year it has a new home – in-between Seaton Sluice and Blyth’s South Beach – and is taking place over an extra day, running from June 30 to July 2.
“It began life as a Chilli festival, but the music and entertainment aspect has grown and grown,” said Mark, who organises the event with his wife Shelley.
“We had five fantastic years in the grounds of Seaton Delaval Hall, but we needed more space for the stages, marquees, stalls and our camping area,” she said.
Hundreds of festival-goers are expected to stay on the site all weekend. A range of flexible tickets are still available, with options ranging from as little as £5 to £30. Tickets for children cost £3.
Further details and tickets are available through the 2017 North East Chilli Fest website www.chillifest-ne.co.uk