CHESTER enjoyed a £1 million bumper weekend as an estimated 24,000 people packed the city centre for a three-day festival.
People came from far and wide for the Chester Food, Drink and Lifestyle Festival at Chester Racecourse and organisers say almost every hotel room Chester was booked up over the weekend.
Festival organiser Stephen Wundke said: “Last year’s figures were 22,000 but we had very good weather then.
“It was very cold this weekend, but we were very lucky because it didn’t rain.
“Given the conditions, I am elated with the response we have had.
“Everybody had a fabulous time. It was a very big show and it took a long time to organise, but everybody loved it.
“Without a doubt, it’s the best year we have had.”
Mr Wundke added: “We think we brought in around £1million.
“Almost every hotel was fully booked and every caravan park nearby was full.
“What we will do with this money is invest it into next year’s event.
“Last year we had a great revenue so this year we hosted the beer festival and better camping facilities.
“We will find a way to make it bigger and better next year. We’re aiming for 50,000 people through the doors.
“If we get to 50,000 people, the immediate benefit is that we’re looking at a revenue of £3million.
“People like Marco Pierre White would not consider placing themselves in Chester if it weren’t for the festival.
“Chester is becoming a real top food and drink destination and that has a lot to do with the festival.”
“Simon Rimmer’s and Michael Caines’ cooking demonstrations were superb.
“There was a huge crowd and we didn’t have enough seats.
“People were standing in the aisles. They wanted to see these guys who are on TV cooking and entertaining them.
“They are not just chefs, but entertainers.”
Big crowds at city food festival
THOUSANDS of people headed to Chester over the long bank holiday Easter weekend to sample some of the finest food the city has to offer.
The three day Chester Food, Drink and Lifestyle Festival was held at Chester Racecourse.
Top chefs from across the region demonstrated a range of exciting and tempting dishes at this year’s festival.
Big names included Simon Rimmer and Michael Caines and Thomasina Miers. Other favourite chefs present included Andrew Nutter, of Nutters, Ian Matfin, of ABode Hotel Manchester, Nigel Smith, of Ribby Hall, and Paul Taylor, of the Fat Loaf restaurants.
As well as watching chefs, there was the opportunity for children to discover their own cookery talents, with the Academy of Culinary Arts.
The academy ran a series of food workshops, teaching children the importance of healthy eating and trying new and exciting foods.