THE Bradford on Avon Food and Drink Festival closes later today at 5pm with organisers expecting more than 6,000 people to visit the event this weekend.

Thanks to a successful one-day launch in 2019, this year’s festival is taking place over two days. The event was cancelled last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

The organisers of this year’s festival, Lotte Duncan and Jon Hackett, say it is packed with live cookery demonstrations from celebrity chefs and experts, plus local food and drink sourced from a wide range of producers.

Mr Hackett, of Scrumptious Food Festivals, said: “We had around 4,000 visitors in 2019 and are expecting more than 6,000 this weekend.

"The weather is absolutely fabulous and we are very pleased to have live cookery demonstrations, artisan producers, street food, and live music to entertain the visitors.”

The artisan food producers include former St Laurence School pupil James Grace, of The Somerset Chilli Company, with his exotic flavoured chilli sauces.

One of his latest products is a chilli called Blackberry Lane, named after the lane where he used to live in Limpley Stoke.

He said: “We are here to change the way you eat your food. We showcase a range of seven exotic hot sauces, gradually increasing from zero heat to a heat level most would avoid – there’s something to suit everyone.”

Highlights today include cookery demonstrations by Indian food entrepreneur Mallika Basu, and several Great British Bake Off contestants, including finalist Steven Carter-Bailey and semi-finalist Briony May Williams from Bristol.

Other celebrity chefs included restaurateur and chef Lucie Greenwood, chef and café owner Emily Lloyd Jones, and Vicky Marshall, co-founder of the Honesty Food Group Ltd in Devizes.

One of the highlights on Saturday was a ‘Chop and Chat’ cookery demonstration with Lotte Duncan and Alex Hollywood, former wife of the Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood, who is also a chef.

2014 MasterChef champion Ping Coombes, who lives in Bath, and Beth Al Rikabi, the Free Range Chef, from Holt, as well as Dean Westcar and Sarah Gurung, along with Great British Bake Off finalist Val Stones, also staged cookery demonstrations on Saturday.

Family entertainment includes circus workshops, a fun dog show run by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, face painting and lots more.

Bradford on Avon Town Council is supporting the festival, which is taking place on Victory Field in Pound Lane.

Mr Hackett added: “From cheese, chutneys and sweet treats to the finest festival street food, we guarantee our visitors won’t be going home hungry.”

Stalls include a wide range of gin and vodka producers, brownies, fudge, and local cheeses.

There is a range of street food from Croatia, Greece, Japan and Tibet, as well as Thai food supplied by The Swan Hotel, and a pop up pub run by FestivAles.

Greenpeace, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and The Woodland Trust, as well as Riverford Organics, were all represented, and charity stalls include Julia’s House Hospice.

Staff from Christ Church Primary School are raising funds at the festival by selling apple presse to help stock and maintain their teaching kitchen for more than 400 pupils.

Spokeswoman Sonia Fox said: “It has been very successful and the lovely weather has made it a fantastic event.”

For supercar enthusiasts, there is also a chance to see the new Aston Martin DBS Superleggera that is featured in the latest James Bond film No Time To Die.

Tickets can be purchased at the entrance, with prices at £7 for adults, £3 for accompanied children 12-16 years, and children under 12 years free.