Thousands flock to Whitley Bay food festival

More than 20,000 people descended on Whitley Bay for a celebration of street food.

By David Sedgwick
Wednesday, 24 July, 2019, 09:33
Spanish City Plaza transformed for Feasts by the Sea.

Feasts by the Sea – the first of three to take place at Spanish City Plaza this year – saw a bumper crowd despite wet weather on the Saturday.

The free event, held last weekend, will return again on August 10 and 11 and September 7 and 8.

Visitors were treated to tastes from all over the world, as well as craft beers and ciders, cocktails and live music.

Feast by the Sea is the brainchild of Mark and Shelley Deakin – who are behind the Proper Food and Drink Festivals – and Nigel Holliday, who has organised some of the North East’s most successful pop up food events.

Nigel said: “You are always a little bit anxious about a new idea and the weather on Saturday wasn’t great, but it didn’t spoil a thing.

“It’s is a great location. We were so pleased to welcome such a large number of visitors and everybody providing the fantastic food and drink did a wonderful job.”

Rows of street trucks served up food from South Korea, the Middle East, Germany, Italy, the United States and India. There was also fish and chips and – from Teesside – Parm-O-Rama. Its creator Johnny Hesketh is on a mission to spread the enjoyment of Middlesbrough’s famous Parmos throughout the UK.

Ryan McVay launched The Calabash Tree after attending a world food event which to his disappointment did not include anything from the Caribbean. Helped by his family, his business has gone from strength-to-strength and had a sell-out weekend at the first Feast.

“My mum’s from Trinidad and it’s the food I grew up on. I started making it for friends and work collegues and they said I should sell it,” said the 41-year-old from Washington.

As well as being inspired by his mum Estephanie’s recipes, Ryan’s dad was a chef and has come out of retirement to support his son.

The Calabash Tree will be back at September’s Feast by the Sea which – amongst other things – will stage a Street Food Battle.

As well as providing a taste of the UK’s finest street food, the theme of the August weekend is Vintage Seaside Revival.

It will feature a vintage record store, a vintage sweatshirt stall and vintage clothing and jewellery. There will also be vintage fairground rides and sideshow games.