Warwick’s first Chocolate Festival was so successful it has drawn complaints after car parks stayed full, stalls were too busy to reach, and sweet treats sold out within hours.
The festival in Market Square saw thousands of chocolate lovers head out to try cocoa flavoured wines, beers, cakes and hot drinks in the first event of its kind in the town.
But for some the bustling day brought upset with shoppers complaining stalls sold out too soon, and others being unable to park nearby.
Organisers at Warwick Rocks reported “unprecedented success” on Sunday with 20 stall holders at the free event selling out within hours.
Volunteer organiser Jack Linstead, said the staggering demand was fantastic for the town, but interest could simply not have been predicted.
He said: “Most traders have attended chocolate festivals around the country but have never experienced numbers like it even in London.
“One stand sold 1,000 cookies in four hours and chocolate wine sold out within just 45 minutes.
“Even on the streetfood traders ran out and latest estimates show around 20,000 people there during the day.”
He assured levels of planning were high before the event, but numbers took everyone by surprise with many town shops selling out of food and describing it as the busiest trading day of the year.
“We tried to keep people updated on movements in the day,” he said. “All of the car parks were full, with people having to use St Nicholas Park and walk in.
“What we are talking about is unprecedented numbers of people attending an event.
“The layout was designed to use the full capacity of the square and have roads closed. But we will of course be taking all comments on board in the planning of future events.”
Traders, Caking and Baking told the Courier: “We had a fantastic time, 500 cakes sold in three hours.”
One visitor said despite problems, the festival was a great asset for Warwick, saying: “There is lots to learn for next year as layout was poor and stalls sold out very quickly, but great to see town so busy. Loads of potential.”
The festival was the first of its kind and is expected to return next year due to the huge interest on is first day.