Food & Drink Festival smashes visitor record

More than 16,000 people visited the Isle of Man Food and Drink Festival at the weekend, smashing the previous attendance record by nearly 6,000.

The two-day event was amongst the first to be held in the British Isles since the start of the global pandemic.

Visitors were able to meet more than 60 local food and drink producers and sample their mouth-watering creations ranging from seafood to gin.

The action-packed programme also included a variety of cooking demonstrations and talks, food eating competitions and live music.

Now in its 12th year, the event had been threatened by Covid-19, but was able to take place after social distancing measures were scrapped on the Island in June.

Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:

‘For many it was a chance to say thank you to local producers for their efforts in what has been an exceptionally difficult year, and I encourage people to continue buying local – pandemic or otherwise. This event is a welcome boost not only to the local economy but to community spirit.’

Noa Bakehouse was crowned ‘Best Stand’ competition winners, followed by The Abbey & The Forge and festival newcomers, Isle of Man Seafoods.

Sustainability and supporting local were the key themes of the event, with traders prohibited from using certain single-use plastics and visitors encouraged to bring their own bags and reusable water bottles to cut down on waste.

Over the weekend 235kg of recycling was collected from stations located around the gardens.

The Isle of Man Government is asking visitors to complete a short questionnaire to help identify improvements for future events.

Food and drink festival 2020 attendance