Category Archives: event management

Countdown on to the 2016 Accrington Food and Drink Festival

Gold Sponsors secured to help make day even bigger and better

It might seem a long time until summer, but the countdown to the 2016 Accrington Food and Drink Festival has well and truly begun.

Festival co-ordinator Sue Lawson is pictured with Liz Murphy, PR Manager at Simon Jersey

Festival co-ordinator Sue Lawson is pictured with Liz Murphy, PR Manager at Simon Jersey

Last year’s revamped and revitalised event was one of Accrington’s biggest crowd-pullers, with more than 10,000 people filling the town centre for a day filled with flavours and family fun. Now planning is well under way for this year’s event, to be held on Saturday June 4th.

Many of the same ingredients will help make a recipe for success, including an array of regional stalls showcasing the area’s finest food producers and retailers, live cookery demonstrations with a celebrity chef, a fabulous Continental food market on Broadway, “Accrington Pals” uniformed actors giving talks throughout the day, and a live World War II re-enactment commemorating D-Day.

Another heritage highlight this year will be a Spitfire, the iconic fighter aircraft of the Battle of Britain, on display in the town centre. Visitors will be able to view the historic aeroplane at close quarters and have their photo taken next to it.

Two Gold Sponsors have already been secured for this year’s event, helping make it even bigger and better than 2015. The first is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of uniforms, Altham-based Simon Jersey, which is celebrating 45 years in the area as well as sponsoring Team GB for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

and with MD Jim Harness (left) and Operations Director Gareth Lindsay from NLTG.

and with MD Jim Harness (left) and Operations Director Gareth Lindsay from NLTG.

The second Gold Sponsor is one of the UK’s largest training providers, North Lancs Training Group, which has been training and supporting young people through apprenticeships and other vocational programmes for more than 45 years. With one of its two Vocational Centres of Excellence based in Accrington, it has strong links with the town and was keen to support its flagship food festival and participate with its catering students.

The event will once again take place in Broadway and in and around the award-winning Market Hall. Back by popular demand is celebrity chef Richard Fox, who will perform live cookery demonstrations in an outdoor cookery theatre on Broadway and host other demonstrations by local restaurant chefs.

Another huge hit last year and set to return for 2016 was a live World War II re-enactment by the North West Military Collectors, which saw Germans and American GIs locked in an action-packed skirmish in the usually peaceful grounds of St James’ Church.

This year also marks the centenary of one of the darkest days in Accrington’s history, when the famous “Accrington Pals” battalion suffered devastating losses on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, during the First World War. It will be commemorated at the food festival by various displays and activities, including uniformed Accrington Pals actors.

Children can once again join in the fun with activities including the popular cake decorating competition, and once again a vintage double-decker bus will transport people to the festival free of charge from pick-up points across Hyndburn.

This will be the second year that the Accrington Food and Drink Festival has been organised by Scott Dawson Advertising (SDA) as part of its civic pride initiative, working in partnership with Hyndburn Borough Council and the Town Team.

Murray Dawson, from SDA, said: “Last year’s revived Accrington Food and Drink Festival was a great success and we want this year’s to be even better. Having a tank parked in the town centre as part of the D-Day commemorations proved a very popular attraction so we wanted to go one better this year and have a Spitfire on display.

“That and all the other attractions certainly put Accrington Food Festival on the map for must-see event this year!”

Coun. Clare Cleary, Cabinet Member for Accrington Town Centre, added: “Last year’s Food and Drink Festival was a huge success and this year’s looks set to be even bigger and better. It’s a superb family day out for all age groups to enjoy, so make Saturday June 4th a date in your diary to come along and join in the fun.”

Opportunities to get involved with the festival, either through sponsorship or by having a stall, are still available and anyone interested can phone Sue Lawson at SDA on 01282 426846 or email:

To keep up to date with the latest developments on the 2016 festival, visit it’s website at where you will also find a gallery of photographs and videos giving a flavour of last year’s event. You can also ‘like’ the festival Facebook page at or follow it on Twitter at

Flavour-packed festival a sunny success

A sunny September day saw Nelson Food and Drink Festival thronged with thousands of visitors flocking to the town centre on Saturday.

They were rewarded with a full day of foodie fun and the chance to sample a wide range of delicious treats at the fabulous free festival with a real multicultural flavour.

Mayor of Pendle Coun. Nawaz Ahmed, who officially opened the festival at 10am, stayed for the rest of the day, mingling with the crowds, enjoying the entertainment and talking to the stallholders in the Worldwide Food Market.

“I believe there were easily eight to nine thousand people here in Nelson today,” said a delighted Coun. Ahmed.

“I am really pleased to see the town so busy – at one point there were so many people in the food market I could hardly move. This has been a very different kind of event for Nelson and it has really brought the whole community together. I hope to see more events like this in the future.”

Centred on The Shuttle monument, the event began with Nelson town crier Tony Edwards welcoming everyone before handing over to the Mayor to officially open the festival with a ribbon cutting.

With more than 20 stalls selling everything from sausages to samosas and cupcakes to charcoal grilled chicken, the Worldwide Food Market was busy from the off, with stallholders reporting an excellent day’s trading and still busy as the festival drew to a close at 4pm.

Highlights of the day were live cookery demonstrations in the outdoor cookery theatre set up next to The Shuttle and filling its surrounding amphitheatre with people keen to pick up culinary tips from the experts. Central to these was entertaining celebrity chef Richard Fox, whose easygoing, down to earth and amiable style was a real hit with the Nelson crowds.

He performed three of the demonstrations himself and hosted two others given by local restaurant Spice of India and the festivals’ main sponsor, Nelson and Colne College. Its lecturer Mark Taft was joined by John Jones from the award-winning Seafood Pub Company and together they rustled up a full three-course gourmet menu in a fascinating and fast-paced presentation.

After each session the spectators were invited to sample the delicious dishes which had just been created. Richard Fox is also a great campaigner against food waste and was delighted to welcome Pendle’s own chef, writer and ‘food activist’ Gill Watson, who talked about her culinary career and her work locally to cut food waste and help people eat well whatever their budget.

A visual highlight was a colourful and energetic half-hour performance by the Punjabi Roots Dance Academy, whose programme fused traditional Indian dancing and music with modern pop rhythms and had a large crowd of spectators roaring its approval.

Free face painting and henna art were on offer in Nelson marketplace, with the colourful results evident all around the festival. Upstairs in the Pendle Rise shopping centre a ‘Cakelicious’ children’s cake decorating competition was kept busy all day. It was sponsored by another of the festival’s key supporters, Oddies family bakers, which supplied all the plain cupcakes and decorating materials, with students from Nelson and Colne College on hand to help.

Scores of visitors also arrived at the festival in style aboard a classic 1968 Leyland Titan double- decker bus. Supplied by Darwen Transport Trust, it ferried passengers for free, running on two routed from Burnley and Barnoldswick for most of the day.

As the festival drew to a close, chef Richard Fox commented: “What a great day! I’ve had a really friendly welcome from the people of Nelson and Pendle and what wonderful food we’ve seen cooked and on sale here today.

“It’s certainly helped to have such a lovely sunny day, but for me the things I’ll remember are the friendly folk and the fabulous food.”

For more information about the festival, including photos and video of the day’s events, visit its website

‘Beer Chef’ to be toast of festival – 6th June 2015

Celebrity chef Richard Fox will be the guest star at the Accrington Food and Drink Festival on Saturday, June 6.

Richard, dubbed ‘The Beer Chef’, will front this year’s cookery stage on Accrington’s Broadway, with more than 4,000 people expected to attend the festival, which is free to enter.

A host of culinary delights, proudly produced by local farmers and independent traders, will be available for visitors to sample during the special one-day event.

And Richard, who wrote The Food and Beer Cook Book and starred in the ITV series Men Brewing Badly alongside Neil Morrissey, is set to be the star attraction as he demonstrates his cooking skills.

Mr Fox, who has a strong family affinity with Lancashire, specialises in turning leftovers into gastronomic masterpieces.

The Accrington Food and Drink Festival has a proud history of attracting TV cooking personalities with James Martin and Gizzi Erskine among those to have previously attended.

The event will also commemorate the 71st anniversary of the D-Day landings, while two historic buses will transport families from around the area for a small fee.

For more information about the festival, visit the official website or contact Kirsty at or on 01282 426846.