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Surbiton Food Festival - photo by Tangle Photography (UK)

Surbiton Food Festival

Liz Lewis, volunteer with the Surbiton Food Festival, tells us about the May event

Liz tell us about how this event started.

The first Surbiton Food Festival took place in 2013. A local group, the Volunteers of Seething and The Community Brain (a community interest company) had been organising some local festivals and events – The Seething Festival, Kings Soup and Surbiton Ski Sunday.

We really value and enjoy the community nature of the events, people gathering together to have fun in local outdoor spaces, in a way that is welcoming and accessible to everyone. We wanted to expand the idea to include and support local independent businesses and a food festival seemed the ideal way to do this!

We had an initial pen meeting and over 50 people showed up to share ideas and their energy.

How has it evolved?

The overall format has remained much the same with the 3 outdoor weekend events: The Freshwater Sardine Festival, The Village Fete and The Community Sports Day. Alongside these local businesses are invited to hold events around town. Over the years we have become particularly interested in supporting new businesses and this year we’re holding a competition to develop this further. The competition is open to people who have a business idea in catering that they are ready to trial. The winner would have support to hold a launch event and a support package to help them through the process of launching their business.

What are the highlights someone can enjoy?

There is so much to enjoy! The Freshwater Sardine Festival is a personal favourite, people love it and come out in all weather to celebrate and enjoy the freshwater sardines. There are several new businesses and old favourites coming along to The Village Fete. The demonstrations, organised by the local WI are always brilliant! The Dry Hopped Beer Festival, run by the The Lamb and the Black Lion pubs will benefit from the addition of a gin bar, thanks to No 97 and a prosecco van from Prosecco Unlimited this year. We are particularly grateful for these businesses who donate their time and all the proceeds back into funding the festival and of course our wonderful sponsors.

How can the community get involved and is it child friendly?

The festival is run entirely by volunteers and is a not for profit venture, so anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. People may have particular skills they wish to share, or be happy to just pitch in where necessary. Of course, everybody is welcome to come along to all the events. There’s always something for the kids to do, there’s crafts and storytelling. The community sports day and dog show is a big hit with families. This year we have Liam from the Tiny Dancers Family Rave hosting this event.. so expect some fun and games!

Will the festival be back next year?

We hope to be able to carry on with the festival in coming years… It’s a lot of work and a labour of love, but worth it to see everyone enjoying themselves and local businesses represented. We welcome new ideas and as a community event, the aim is to reflect that – anyone wanting to get involved please contact….

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Surbiton Food Festival 2019
4-19 May
surbitonfoodfestival.org

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