In pictures: First eat:Christmas is a roaring success despite last minute venue change
- Credit: Archant
The inaugural eat:Christmas food festival refused to be blown away by Storm Deirdre.
The festive event saw food and drink producers aplenty selling their wares to thousands of passers-by on Saturday.
The festival, which was due to be held in Weston’s Italian Gardens, was moved inside two unused units in the Sovereign Shopping Centre and the food court.
Organiser Bev Milner Simonds said: “On a day when pretty much every other outdoor event was cancelled in the South West we showed through careful planning and teamwork a safe, welcoming festival can still be delivered.
“Our producers and production partners reacted very positively – we work with micro and small businesses and for many this was their last opportunity for sales before Christmas and a cancellation would have meant wasted stock and lost revenue.”
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Co-organiser Sarah Milner Simonds said: “Eat:Christmas was a resounding success for all those who took part.
“Our local food and drink producers had great sales, the other tenants in the shopping centre were busier and there wasn’t a car parking space to be had anywhere in Weston.
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“It was brilliant to work in partnership with the Sovereign Shopping Centre and North Somerset Council to bring the event indoors due to Storm Deirdre.”
North Somerset Council saw 27,000 people visit the shopping centre, receiving the statistics from Springboard.
North Somerset Council purchased the Sovereign Centre, as part of its commercial investment strategy.
The council expects to generate £1m a year from the site, which will be put back into vital local services.
The Sovereign Centre is part of the Weston Town Centre Regeneration Programme which is delivering improvements to key sites within the town and encouraging inward investment.
Nigel Ashton, Leader of North Somerset Council, said: “Pop-up shops are not unusual in a shopping centre. Food festivals moving into shopping centres with just 36 hours’ notice are.
“This event is incredibly popular, and I Am not surprised the footfall numbers reflect this.
“Owning the shopping centre allows us to be flexible and move with the needs of the community, turning the centre into a modern, multi-use space with retail at its heart.”