Take a train to Leamington Food Festival this September

Photo shows: Alison Shaw, back right, Stephanie Kerr, front left, Procaffeinate’s Evie O’Keeffe, back left, & Tom Hooker, front right.
Leamington Food Festival

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.

A free beer, wine or non-alcoholic drink will be offered to anyone arriving with a valid train ticket receipt at the two-day food and drink showcase at the Pump Room Gardens on Saturday, September 8, and Sunday, September 9.

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.

Alison Shaw, BID project manager, said: “It attracts visitors from all over the UK, and we know of people travelling from London, Somerset and Lincolnshire especially for it.

“We also know people travel to the festival by train and hope this new incentive for this year will encourage more to come by rail and in return, we will give them a drink on us.”

Procaffeinate, the coffee shop and bar in Leamington’s Old Town, is among exhibitors who will be turning up in less conventional modes of transport – a horse box. The converted trailer is complete with beer taps, an espresso machine and cocktail shakers.

Tom Hooker, manager of Procaffeinate in Clemens Street, said: “Our vintage horse 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 including Persian, Caribbean, Thai, Indian, Mexican, and a packed programme of activities and entertainment for all ages.

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 ever popular Kids Cookery School will feature a new session on making ‘bread in a bag’.

Live music from the bandstand is another festival favourite with new performers Sara Spade Trio, Chasing Deer and AcSia taking to the stage to entertain the crowds.

Alison added: “This year’s festival will round off what has been a spectacular ‘Summer of Fun’ in Leamington and we’re appealing for volunteers to come forward to help make what is the biggest event in the town’s calendar another roaring success.”