Showplace Events relocates Stratford Food Festival to racecourse

StratfordFoodFestivalShowplace Events, organiser of the Stratford Food Festival, has announced that it is to move the event’s location to a larger site. Stratford Racecourse will host the event from September 14-15, allowing the event to further expand, following a 34 per cent increase in visitor footfall in 2012.

Showplace Events aims to attract a record 20,000 visitors in 2013, offering free parking for exhibitors and visitors.

Charlotte Parkin, at Showplace Events, explained: “Last year, at the recreation ground, if we had suffered Sunday’s weather a day early, when the site became completely water-logged, we would have been forced to cancel the event. At the same time, we achieved the site visitor capacity on the first day, which was a fabulous endorsement. We have the recipe right – we have become a major attraction: now we need to progress away from the limitations of our old site and its water-logging risks.”

For 2013, the organisers have “exciting plans” to make best use of the extra space and improve the visitor and exhibitor experience. They also aim to attract record exhibitor numbers, including main sponsor Waitrose, artisan producers–- many of them local, ranging from cheesemakers to tea companies – and Stratford pubs and hotels.

Parkin added: “It’s only a few years since the event had to be rescued from financial ruin. Now, with the continued involvement of town traders and supporters, we aim to continue to grow, on a sound commercial footing, and realise our ambition to be one of the UK’s finest food events and a showcase for Stratford businesses and the entire town.

“While we’re disappointed to have to leave the recreation ground, the upside is that the racecourse offers us a long-term home and an exciting expansion opportunity, avoiding traffic chaos and being able to cope with wet weather.”

David Reid, Stratford Waitrose manager, adds: “We were delighted to sponsor the Festival in 2012. It gave us the chance to showcase our offer alongside some of the best regional producers. The festival is a great addition to the local calendar and all of the Partners at Waitrose Stratford look forward to supporting this growing event.”