Does Sidmouth need a food festival of its own?

Andy Witheridge from the Salty Monk creates some chicken and wild mushroom sausages at the Budleigh

Andy Witheridge from the Salty Monk creates some chicken and wild mushroom sausages at the Budleigh Salterton Food and Drink Festival aided by King's School student and Junior South West Chef of the Year for 2014 Melissa Johnson. Ref shs 0390-12-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

The return of Budleigh Salterton’s annual food festival has prompted green-eyed looks down the coast – and renewed questions of why Sidmouth does not have one of its own.

The Loft’s Katrina Lort thinks it should and said a collaboration between the town’s restaurants and cafés could boost footfall and create a real buzz.

Costs could be kept down if the eateries offered in-house demonstrations and called in favours to attract a celebrity chef.

“When we lived in Cheltenham, the food festival was huge – and it got bigger and bigger each year,” she said. “If all the restaurants got involved, we wouldn’t need to rent land or put up a marquee. Then, if it takes off, we can expand.”

Budleigh’s festival last weekend boasted big name chefs and entertainment across the town, giving businesses a ‘huge’ increase in footfall.

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Katrina said Sidmouth could replicate this success by building on existing relationships between the food suppliers and eateries. The Loft is up for sale, but she wants to ‘set the wheels in motion’ for a festival this summer or next Easter.

It created a buzz when she posted the idea on social network Streetlife.

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One user, Pining Lass, suggested that a 19th century-themed food festival would set Regency Sidmouth apart from other towns.

Another, Mrs Miggins, said: “Sidmouth has never been a ‘foodie’ town and maybe a food fest would kickstart a new era.”

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