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Was this the best ever Ludlow Food Festival?
THE appetite for Ludlow Food Festival is voracious if visitor numbers this year are anything to go by – with many stallholders boasting best-ever figures in glorious late summer sun.
This week, organisers were confident they had hit the 20,000 mark for visitors over the festival’s three days. At the sharp end, those stall holders who didn’t sell out came close to it.
International visitor numbers were an added dimension, with the German contingent particularly taken with the quality of South Shropshire lager.
In a way, it was Ludlow’s excuse to party after bad weather dogged the Ludlow Festival and the Diamond Jubilee tapped into the town’s celebratory resources.
For the festival itself, this year’s event was a coming of age. Now in its 18th year, it is a tribute to the organisers and the quality of what’s on offer that a target of 20,000 is expected rather than hoped for. As our pictures show, it’s all come a long way from what was started by a handful of enthusiastic volunteers back in 1995. If history puts Ludlow on the map, the festival is now another reason for it to be there.
And if local food and drink remains the focus, the showcase has opened up a more cosmopolitan menu. This year, for instance, Malaysian and Italian cookery came to the fore.
There were also many workshops, including one looking at the contrast between the wines of the old and new worlds, a new restaurant and old favourites such as the sausage and ale trails.
Though Ludlow Castle continued as the hub of the Festival, this year saw its spread increase out of the town with a foraging trip to collect the berries and fruits from local hedgerows.
Traders from the town took part in a window dressing competition, with the South Shropshire Furniture Scheme shop in Tower Street chosen as the winner.