FOOD and drink fans braved the rain this weekend to visit Claremont Farm in Bebington for Farm Feast 2014.
The event, which returned this year after a hiatus in 2013, rewarded thousands of hardy festival-goers with a galaxy of stalls dedicated to the region’s best produce.
Tents crammed with artisan chocolates, cheeses, breads and beers stood alongside marquees housing demonstrations from celebrity chefs, including Great British Bake Off runner-up Brendan Lynch, and cocktail ‘mixologists’.
A ‘Vintage Village’ showcased live demonstrations from Lindy Hop dance group Merseyswing and families enjoyed a dedicated ‘Little Feasters’ play area.
A live sheep shearing show, featuring dancing sheep, was the main attraction in the lower meadow area and musicians entertained visitors at two stages across the site.
Mayor of Wirral Councillor Dave Mitchell opened proceedings on Sunday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour around the site alongside Lady Mayoress Sue Mitchell.
Speaking to the Globe he said he felt privileged to be attending the event as a “local lad” from Bebington and ahead of his final week in office.
Cllr Mitchell said: “It’s brilliant to be able to support the farm and the producers and wonderful to see such a great variety of products produced locally and presented so well.
“I’m a local lad, I was born and bred in Bebington, so this is heaven for me. It’s great for people to have the opportunity to see the way food is prepared, grown and made.
“I think it’s wonderful that Farm Feast has come back after a short lapse and that it's expanded so greatly as a tourist attraction.
“In Wirral we’ve got the best of everything; the best countryside, the best beaches and as Farm Feast shows, we’ve got the best food too.”
Traders at the event included the Chester Cheese Shop, Dough It Yourself, Chocolate Cellar and Muffs of Bromborough together with scores of independent retailers from the north west region and beyond.
Morag Moreton, who runs speciality jelly company Seren Foods Ltd alongside her husband Gerry, said her stall at Farm Fest 2014 had seen less trade than previous years but believes food and drink festivals were “very important” for local businesses and communities.
She said: “Events like Farm Feast give people the chance to try food and drink before they buy it and helps to promote small businesses, which are the backbone of the country.
“Farm Feast has a lovely atmosphere and it’s really great to be back.”
On Sunday night the festival’s main stage hosted ‘Livestock’ featuring music from Dan Croll, Stealing Sheep, Soho Riots and headliners Peter Hook and The Light.
Ellis Anderson from Pensby, 24, said she especially enjoyed the music at the festival and was “surprised” by the variety of acts performing.
She said: “The whole vibe has been really nice and the music has been really diverse. It’s been great to try lots of different types of food from local suppliers.”
Andy Brown, 35, who travelled from Ashton-in-Makerfield, said: “You couldn’t ask for more really; there’s loads for the kids to do, lots to eat and drink and the atmosphere is really friendly.
“I hope it comes back next year.”
Read our live coverage of Farm Feast 2014 here.