Ottery working up an appetite for food festival

Ottery business owners get together to promote their forthcoming food and drink festival. Picture by

Ottery business owners get together to promote their forthcoming food and drink festival. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref sho 7686-13-13AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

Ottery is working up an appetite for its first annual Food & Families Festival with the announcement of a major sponsor.

More than 35 local businesses have signed up to take part in the event on Saturday, June 1, which aims to promote the town as a foodie destination.

This week solicitors firm Every’s has signed up to be the festival’s main sponsor, as organisers finalise the programme ahead of a launch party in April.

Ruud Jansen Venneboer, who helped dream up the event, said there will be a market in Mill Street with food stalls, a marquee in Sainsbury’s car park with live cooking demonstrations, and Jesu Street will be closed off as an entertainment zone with children’s activities.

As well as the main festival Ruud is hoping there will be a number of fringe events such as live music and ‘pop-up’ shops, as the whole town joins together to celebrate its food and drink.

He said: “It is a community driven, not-for-profit event, but the highly experienced and trusted Taste of the West team is helping us make it all happen.

“Ottery is famous for its community events so we hope this one will be a success too.”

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Ruud, who runs Mazzard Farm, said not long ago you were unlikely to have mentioned Ottery St Mary and ‘eating out’ in the same sentence. But the launch of new restaurants and the resurgence of shops selling locally sourced produce helped form the basis for the festival. He now hopes the event can be a celebration of this change, and a foundation for more new ventures to prosper.

Ruth Godfrey from Every’s said they wanted to sponsor the event as it is committed to getting involved in the local communities where it has offices.

She was brought in to look after the Ottery branch and re-engage with people in the town, and she hopes by having staff at the festival to speak to people the solicitor’s firm will seem more approachable.

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