More than 60 businesses are involved in this year’s Steyning and District Food and Drink Festival.
Representatives gathered at The White Horse yesterday for the official launch of the month-long festival, which will run from September 1 to October 7.
Martin Leigh-Pollitt, chairman of the visitor and tourism group, a sub committee of the Steyning and District Community Partnership, said: “This has grown over the years and there are now more than 60 businesses involved and about 55 events.
“We are very fortunate to live in Steyning and the festival guide lists our local businesses who were winners at this year’s Sussex Food and Drink Awards. That really underlines the type and quality of food and drink available that is produced in this area.
“This event really is all about showcasing these products and organisations, and we are delighted to be part of that. Our entire objective is to bring visitors to Steyning to help underpin the local economy and support all our individual businesses in this area.”
The festival starts off with a bang with the farmers’ market, featuring music and live cooking demonstrations, and will end up with traditional services for harvest and lunches at various churches.
In between, there are all sorts of events, including tea parties, a fishing competition, walks, a winery tour, brewery open day and star gazing.
Martin said: “It is all happening and I really think that there is something there for everyone.
“We are delighted this year to have as our charity partner St Barnabas House hospice. We have plenty of charity breakfasts you can come to and they will be running their own event at Sussex Produce café.”
Sam Skilton, marketing co-ordinator for St Barnabas House, attended the launch and said everyone at the hospice was delighted to hear it had once again be chosen as the charity partner.
Sam said: “People are not always aware that Steyning falls within the St Barnabas House catchment area, so as well as being a means of raising vital funds for people who need end-of-life or palliative care in the local area, the festival is also a great opportunity for the hospice to raise awareness of the services we provide across the district.
“We are also very lucky to have a Friends group based in Steyning, who help to raise awareness of the hospice in the town and hold regular fundraising events. They will be supporting the festival by providing materials and attending some of the events.”
Mary Matthews, from Mary Matthews Handmade in Cobblestone Walk, came up with a fantastic idea to add event more ‘oomph’ to the festival.
She decided to make some community bunting to decorate the main bus shelter in High Street for the month.
Volunteers were asked to create and decorate their own flag, letting their imagination go wild using embroidery, colourful fabrics, felt or fabric pen to produce a pennant with some personal association. Smiffy Bears, also in Cobblestone Walk, created a flag with a teddy bear on it, for example.
Mary has been running free flag making sessions on Thursday afternoons throughout July and August, providing materials, tuition and ideas, as well as an opportunity for a chit-chat.
For full details of all the festival events and special offers, pick up a Horsham District Food & Drink brochure around town or visit www.steyningdistrictfooddrinkfestival.co.uk