SHREWSBURY FOOD FESTIVAL: The sun shone over the Quarry Park last weekend, except for that one MASSIVE thunderstorm. Foodies and festival goers came together for the annual Shropshire Festivals extravaganza.
Having only recently moved to Shropshire, it was my first Food Festival here and I have to say I had an absolute blast. I also have to say that for several reasons, I doubt I even saw half of what was going on. I only visited for one day, and I visited with a three-year-old in tow – so needless to say we spent a lot of time in the Kids Zone!
However, what I did see was excellent. The map of the site produced beforehand did help you to navigate around, but it doesn’t even begin to give you a sense of the variety and quality of the stalls and street food that was on offer. We enjoyed a tasty chicken and chorizo paella from Su Casa Cuisine of Oswestry as well as tasty pints of Dirty Gertie, the 30th-anniversary celebration ale from Hobsons Brewery. But really, you could pick any style of food, any local producer and any beverage and it would pretty much be there.
Obviously, you can absolutely choose to spend the day eating and drinking. I would be the last person to hold that against you. However, there was a lot besides to keep you entertained. The main stage kept cranking out fine tunes throughout, and there were more informal performances from local groups at the bandstand. Tired of eating? There were plenty of sports activities and also a home and garden section to keep you occupied.
Naturally, there were a bunch of great talks and demonstrations for you to rock up to as well. The Chef’s School and Chef’s Demo stages had bustling programmes with some really big names. There was also a lovely Kids Cookery School which had an amazing line up of sessions. Something for our family in years to come.
And then me, as it goes! Yes, for the first time in the festival’s 10-year history, they had a beer tasting. It was a lot of fun – I started with a Battle of the Buds – a blind taste test of Thornbridge x Budweiser Budvar Czech Mates and Budweiser US pilsner. Tastebuds suitably invigorated, we moved on to some of the best Shropshire has to offer – local beers from Noble Craft, Salopian, Three Tuns and Hobsons. A delicious hour of my life and my first festival stage performance 🤣
Huge thanks to the team who ran the Chef’s School behind the scenes. A Herculean effort went in, and they did an absolutely incredible job. Also a big thank you to all of the breweries who supported the tasting.
As well as a dedicated Kids Zone, the Reconomy area in particular was great for little ones. The field to fork approach meant that there were plenty of tractors and farm animals to get up close and personal with! As with all Shropshire Festivals events though, free access to various bouncy castles, sports, circus activities and the all-important teacups won my little one over. We basically had to pry her away with a crowbar, but not before she made a wriggly caterpillar puppet with the lovely people from Scrappies. Who I will definitely be visiting next time we are in Church Stretton.
And the water mist! On such a hot day, those cool jets of water over a main thoroughfare were an absolute stroke of genius, and we spent about half of our visit watching the Small run in and out of their path.
🐐 Join Laura Hadland for a beer tour in Shrewsbury via Shrewsbeer
🐐 Book tickets for next year’s Food Festival via Shropshire Festivals