Fiesta Finale to Food Festival

The Riverside Fiesta was the finale event to the inaugural Henley Eat! Food Festival on Saturday in the sunshine on Mill Meadows.

From curries to gin, cakes to beer and gourmet fries and fudge there was something for everybody’s taste buds including dogs with Butternut Box offering home cooked dog food.  Local companies who joined in included Lovibonds, Olives & Lemons, Mr Hobbs Gin, The Happy Gurka and Menza Cafe.  The popular Pirate Pizza boat also moored up to sell their delicious pizzas and there was a floating gin bar aboard the Hibernia.

Entertainment was provided by packed programme of musicians and singers on the bandstand throughout the day with performances from the Rock Choir, Lucy Porada and Felix and Didi (former winners of Henley’s Got Talent) and Matt Richardson duo.

Allison Manning from Hertfordshire Saucy Dogs said, “I think it needs a little bit more advertising, and a little bit more going on for the children, then it would be more of a hit, and I think it would work better.”  Mark Pollock from Billy Tong added,”It’s been a day full of really good food, drink, and customers making it great for people like us.”

Henley resident, Luke Jones who was attending the event commented, “There is a lot of great food and drink on offer, sitting in the sunshine listening to the music by the river has been lovely.” 

Eat! Food Festival Founder, Philippa Ratcliffe said, “We were delighted to welcome everyone who came down to enjoy the Riverside Fiesta in the sunshine. We had a fantastic line up of food and drink traders, bringing some new flavours and tastes to Henley, along with superb performances on the bandstand throughout the day which made for a perfect foodie fiesta start to the Henley festival season. We have had such wonderful feedback –  Cllr Will Hamilton – “Lovely to pop in, a good event in the sunshine.” Berit Hoglund “Having a lovely time at the Riverside Fiesta eating and drinking! Thanks for organising this for Henley”  Michael Trethewey “Great event and brilliant mix of quality food/drink suppliers, loved it, repeat again next year please !”  And in answer to Michael, yes, we will be back next year, bigger, bolder and brasher! Watch this space!”

Eat! Food Festival has been a phenomenal success with no less than 16 events in fourteen days starting on 15 June with the Big Feast in Market Place, through to all the other events including Food On Film season at the Regal Picturehouse, Kitchen at the Kenton, Ministry of Taste wine tasting, Some Like it Hot chilli session with local chilli grower and hot sauce producer Johnny Hot Stuff.  Philippa said, “We are thrilled with how people have embraced this new event.  Our aim was to provide something truly local and to be as inclusive and accessible as possible whilst supporting and collaborating with local businesses to truly champion Henley.”

Around thirty local businesses have been involved with year’s food festival and Philippa is looking to increase that number next year and with more events added to the line up for 2020. Philippa added, “Huge thanks must go to those whose without their help and support the festival just wouldn’t have happened especially Cllr Kellie Hinton, Cllr Sarah Miller, General Manager of the Regal Picturehouse, Melissa Macfarlane, Harry & Hannah Dickson from the Three Tuns, Peter Moody from My Hot Kitchen and Brakspear Pubs for making us such an awesome festival beer, Rhuby, which if you’re quick is still available in a few of the town centre pubs.”

If you would like to get involved next year, please contact Philippa via info@eatfoodfest.co.uk

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