Celebrities signed up for Steyning festival

Martin Leigh-Pollitt and Reina Alston, front right, with supporters at the launch ks1500407-1
Martin Leigh-Pollitt and Reina Alston, front right, with supporters at the launch ks1500407-1

STEYNING Food and Drink Festival was launched in style today.

Supporters gathered at The White Horse, in Steyning High Street, to celebrate the third festival, the biggest yet.

Celebrity headliners this year are wine expert Oz Clarke and actress Sophie Thompson, winner of last year’s Celebrity MasterChef.

Organised by Steyning and District Community Partnership visitors and tourism group, the festival runs under the umbrella of the Horsham Food and Drink Festival, which is organised by Horsham District Council.

Speaking at the launch, visitors and tourism group chairman Martin Leigh-Pollitt praised Steyning Bookshop owner Sara Bowers for again drawing top names to the town.

“Last year, we had Mary Berry and at the end we were saying who on earth can we get to top that,” he said.

“Sara, without even hesitating, produces Oz Clarke and Sophie Thompson. What could be better? Not one but two highlight events.”

Taking place from September 5 until October 4, the festival features a total of 55 events and more than 40 special offers for visitors.

“All this is really about trying to increase the footfall in the High Street and we want to make sure that we get our share of the tourism cake,” explained Mr Leigh-Pollitt.

“It encourages people to come. The festival booklet is distributed right the way up as far as Surrey, which is fantastic. It puts Steyning on the map and attracts an enormous number of people.

“The events help to keep people here are there are a huge variety of events this year, more than ever before. This event is growing like topsy-turvy. It grew out of a chat around the table and it is fantastic. We have all the makings of a grand festival this year.”

There will also be support for charity, including a safari supper in aid of the Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice.

Throughout the festival there will be a hidden recipe competition with a number of High Street shops. The aim of the treasure trail is to take the clues and work out from the ingredients the name of the well-known classic dish.

For the final week, there will be a best food theme shop window competition. All shops are encouraged to participate, whether or not they are food shops, with the judging taking place at 11am on October 3.

Visit the festival website or pick up a brochure for more information.

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