The award-winning Ginger and Spice Festival, based in Market Drayton took place on Saturday 25th September during British Food Fortnight and saw record numbers in attendance.
The annual festival which was opened at 9am by Geoff Russell – The Town Crier, Deputy Town Mayor -Mark Whittle and Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP for North Shropshire, took place on one day (this year) and included a FREE (of charge) Spicy Street Market on Cheshire Street (in the town centre). This spicy market included a range of local artisan producers, many with a ginger and spicy twist.
Spicy Street Market – Cheshire Street
At the spicy street market, over 30 traders attended with many selling out. George Evans of The Shropshire Macaron Co. said:
“Ginger and Spice sell out – we had fun yesterday, met some lovely traders and customers, and sold all of our stock. Thank you to everyone who came to say hello and supported us – means everything.”
There was a contest for Best Spicy Product & Best Kept Stall judged by the Deputy Mayor Mark Whittle, RT Hon Owen Paterson MP for North Shropshire & Event Management Student from Staffordshire University, Sarah Rees.
Best Spicy Product – Padian Food with their Malaysian Kerisik Chicken Curry
Owner, Aisah Haughton, said: “It was great to be a part of the Ginger and Spice Festival and really lovely to see one of my traditional dishes win the award.”
Best Kept Stall – Powells Pies who were selling Traditional Pork Pies
Owner, Marie Powell, said: “It was a fantastic day and a great atmosphere. Good to return to a little bit of normal! As for the award, I am completely taken aback. It was such as surprise and honor. Massive thanks to all the organisers for arranging such a successful day. We had a complete sell-out. Bring on next year, with lots more pies.”
Judge, Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP (North Shropshire), said: “The Ginger and Spice Festival 2021 was another brilliant and enjoyable event, my congratulations to the organisers.
“It continues to bring the best possible recognition for Market Drayton and its proud culinary tradition.
“The ambition of The Ginger and Spice Heritage Trust is truly impressive, engaging with local people and businesses. The Festival has rightly claimed national attention as part of British Food Fortnight.”
There was also live music at the Buttercross with local groups such as Longlands Primary School, Alasdair Grant Mackenzie (saxophone), Lilly Boughey (guitar and singing) and the Brownies led by Colin Brown (drums, keyboard and guitar).
Local musician Lilly Boughey said: “What a fantastic day we had at the Ginger and Spice Festival. What a great selection of Stalls giving a lovely vibe and a wonderful community feel. Thank you for having us.”
Lorna Hounsell of Longlands Primary School said about the children performing: “It really was brilliant. We are so proud of them and were also really thrilled with the support from people watching.”
Plus there was gingerbread decorating for the little ones with Katie’s Kids Kitchen.
There was also a Floating Market on the Shropshire Union Canal with over 15 traders including a Cheese Aboard and Pizza Aboard Boats.
Organiser, Sue Meades, of the Roving Canal Traders said:
“It was a great pleasure to work with the organisers of the Market Drayton Ginger & Spice Festival to bring a second Floating Market to the town this year. We had a great time; the local support was fabulous as usual & we look forward to being back.”
The popular free of charge, self guided Leek United Heritage Town Trail & Contest available for families, took place again with record attendance. Winners of the contest are to be announced over the next 10 days.
Local Shops and businesses decorated their windows with gingerbread characters, dressed to a theme of ‘Heroes and Villains. The best dressed was chosen by all the children who took part on the trail. The winner will also be announced over the next 10 days.
There was also a brand new ticketed ‘Fodder and Tipple Trail’ sponsored by James Du Pavey which took place over a 5 mile route out into the North Shropshire countryside, Shropshire Union Canal and finished at the Red Lion Inn at Joules Brewery, where there was live music with Big Joe Bone.
Festival Attendee, Deborah Grogan, said: “We had the most amazing day at the Ginger and Spice Festival – so many local businesses had made a massive effort and pop-up stalls at both the canal and high street were fabulous. The Fodder & Tipple Trail was excellent and we will definitely be doing it again next year with a bunch of our friends – the best day.”
Sponsor James Du Pavey said: “I was extremely impressed with this year’s amazing festival. My whole family had a spectacular and delicious day out! It really highlighted the very best of Market Drayton and the amazing businesses that are based here.”
Staffordshire University Event Management Course students and Market Drayton Rotary attended the festival as volunteers.
Paul Walters, Staffordshire University course Leader in Events Management said:
“Students in their final year from the Events Management course at Staffordshire University, volunteered at the Ginger and Spice Festival in Market Drayton. They were instrumental in delivering their duties in the build process and event delivery throughout the day. They came away with enormous amount of knowledge and understanding as to the fundamental requirements to achieve memorable event experience for all stakeholders.”
“Rotary in Market Drayton were so pleased to be able to support the Ginger and Spice Festival. It was a great opportunity for us to get to know each other better, as we’re a fairly new group, and we were overwhelmed by the response to our tombola fund raiser for the community.”
Virtual – Gingerbread Talk
There was also a virtual gingerbread talk for those who had to stay at home or could not get to the festival, with Guild of Food writer and historian, Sam Bilton, author of ‘First Catch Your Gingerbread’. Attendees signed up from all over the world including Argentina, USA, Turkey and all over the UK.
Commenting on this year’s Festival, founder and Festival Director, Julia Roberts, said:
“In our 5th year of the Ginger and Spice Festival, we were absolutely delighted to see such fantastic support from the local community of Market Drayton. There were record numbers of visitors in attendance and many of our stall holders sold out of their produce! There was a convivial and positive vibe at the festival, and with the addition of some new events including the Fodder & Tipple Trail and the Floating Market, there were new and exciting event offerings available. We are so grateful to all our sponsors and to Market Drayton Town Council for supporting the festival again this year.”
The next Ginger and Spice Festival will take place on and around 24th September 2022 during British Food Fortnight.