Out-of-town visitors to this year’s Leamington Food and Drink Festival are being encouraged to take the train and enjoy a drink on the organisers.
BID Leamington, which organises the town’s annual celebration of local and regional food and drink with the support of local businesses, hopes the new initiative will appeal to those who travel to the festival from near and far.
A free beer, wine or non-alcoholic drink will be offered to anyone arriving with a valid train ticket receipt at the two-day showcase which is taking over the Pump Room Gardens on Saturday September 8 and Sunday September 9.
Alison Shaw, BID project manager, said: “It’s regarded as one of the best autumn food festivals in the country and attracts visitors from all over the UK.
“We also know people travel to the festival by train and hope this new incentive will encourage more to come by rail and in return, we will give them a drink on us.”
Closer to home Procaffeinate, the coffee shop and bar in Clemens Street, Leamington, is among exhibitors who will be turning up in less conventional modes of transport – a converted vintage horse box complete with beer taps, an espresso machine and cocktail shakers.
Tom Hooker, Procaffeinate’s manager, said: “Our trailer was a great hit when we took it to the festival for the first time last year and we’re looking forward to bringing it back again.
“We take it to festivals all over the country but it’s especially exciting to be part of our local one.
“It’s a mega event and it’s incredible to see how many people turn out for it no matter the weather.
“The whole of Leamington seems to descend on the Pump Room Gardens for the weekend.
“It’s great for the community and it’s great for us as a business to get to try other people’s food and drink.”
The free-to-attend event, now in its 11th year, attracts in the region of 25,000 visitors with flavours to sample from all over the world.
Among the 130 exhibitors will be BBC Apprentice winner Alana Spencer, who will be pitching up with her Ridiculously Rich luxury traybakes, as will first-timers from the town including The Steam House, Stockpot Café, Slurp and Libertine Burgers.
Aubrey Allen will be returning with the Home Cook of the Year competition in the Live Cookery Theatre, which will also host demonstrations by other local businesses such as the Tame Hare, Cote Restaurant and Price’s Spices.
And the popular Kids Cookery School will feature a new session on making bread in a bag.
Live music is another festival favourite with new performers Sara Spade Trio, Chasing Deer and AcSia taking to the bandstand.
The festival’s organisers are appealing for volunteers to help make the event another success.
Anyone interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org