Since having children, our weekend activities have changed a little! Apart from the obvious lack of lazy mornings in bed followed by coffee, papers and people watching, we now spend most of our time trying to find that ultimate family activity; something that we want to do that the children will enjoy too! Food festivals are a great option for us and when we find a good one, we make sure it is in the diary a year in advance so we don’t miss it!
The weather this year wasn’t forecast to be brilliant and I have to admit we did debate as to whether or not this particular day out would be much fun with two children in the rain. However, laden down with waterproofs and umbrellas we ventured out – and in actual fact needn’t have worried as the weather turned out to be rather glorious! On this occasion, the rain most certainly did not stop play!
Shropshire Festivals have been organising the Shrewsbury Food Festival for around 4 years now and each year it has become bigger and better than the year before. Set in the Quarry Park in Shrewsbury, it has a similar set up to the Shropshire Kids Festival (see review) and takes up a good section of the park, which is surrounded by a fence giving it a good sense of boundary and security when you have children!
The festival is a good mix of food and drink retailers from all over Shropshire and beyond. It is well set up to ensure that all venders are undercover but spaced out enough to feel that maneuvering around the stalls with a pram isn’t too much of a challenge.
On arrival, we quickly split into teams as my husband started exploring the stalls while we headed straight for the Police Car and friendly Community Support Officers. Once we had armed ourselves with coffee, we headed down to the Children’s Area to explore what was going on there. With a quick distraction looking at the sow and her beautiful two week old piglets and the rather regal looking alpacas, we wove past the Morris Dancers and Face Paint stand and eventually reached the tent.
The Children’s Tent, in all honesty, had enough activities to keep us going for the rest of the day! If you are keen to explore the food in more detail, it may be best to keep this up your sleeve until the kids get restless! There were some lovely, simple ‘free-play’ activities such as sand, water and Duplo, along with some more structured activities like cake decorating, grape caterpillar making (yes, that is a thing!), contributing to a cardboard city and the highlight for my children, Exotic Zoo. We spent quite some time exploring in here and making friends with the very active armadillo, sleepy meerkats and slippery looking millepede before trying out some of the making activities. It may be a good option if you can, to divide and conquer at this point and take it in turns to stay with the children while one of you gets to explore the festival in relative peace. If that isn’t an option, there was also a chance to use Shropshire Event Nannies who, for a small fee, would happily entertain your little ones for 45mins while you explored ‘child free’!
We did eventually drag the children out to explore the Festival focus – food! Both children were quite happy to chomp their way through samples with the favourites being the little cone of chorizo (which my daughter flat refused to share!), minty marshmallow and welcome cone of mango sorbet when the weather warmed up later on in the afternoon.
There are beer tents galore (for those not chasing round a 13 month old toddler) and live music throughout the day to add to the festival feel.
So, the Shrewsbury Food Festival remains an annual event in our family calendar. It really is a great day out and reassuring to find an event that we, as a family, all genuinely enjoy!
NB: Rachel and her family were provided with tickets to the Shrewsbury Food Festival but all opinions are our own.