Bishop Auckland food festival showcases County Durham ahead of 'UK City of Culture' verdict

The return of the Bishop Auckland Food Festival has been hailed a success with thousands descending on the town to take in the event.

Durham County Council says the event saw record visitor numbers with around 30,000 people visiting the town over Saturday and Sunday to sample different dishes from local traders.

Cooking enthusiasts had the chance to watch a star-studded lineup of TV chefs and bakers who demonstrated their skills in the outdoor cookery theatre, hosted by TV presenter Chris Bavin.

Market stalls set up at the festival offered around 150 local traders the chance to sell their goods while Durham County Council say the festival also provided a boost to businesses trading both at the festival and in the town itself.

Liza Johnson, owner of the Tea Enthusiasts, said: “It’s been amazing. I always love coming to Bishop Auckland Food Festival because of the range and variety of produce that they have here and the sheer number of traders.

"If you want to know what produce County Durham has to offer, this is the placeto find out."This year the festival was also a key part of County Durham’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025, showcasing how people can get involved in culture through food.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “It has been fantastic to welcome back visitors and traders once again to Bishop Auckland for two whole days of fun, food and entertainment.

"This year we’re delighted to have returned to our regular spring date, kicking offthe county’s festival season with an explosion of flavour.

"Events like Bishop Auckland Food Festival are also a key part of County Durham’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025, demonstrating the power of culture to bring people together and enhance the vibrancy of our communities."