The 2018 Neath Food and Drink Festival held in October was a resounding success with more than 60,000 people visiting the town during its three day run.
Organised by Neath Port Talbot Council’s Regeneration and Economic Development team, the event celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, the 60,000 visitors representing an increase in footfall compared to those three days in the previous week of 75%.
A total of 62 artisan traders attended, of which 77% were from Wales, and 18% were new businesses trading for less than two years.
Visitors were treated to a varied selection of produce, from cup-cakes to buffalo meat, with just about everything else in between.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary, the Council hired celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli on the Saturday (Oct 6th), who gave two free cookery demonstrations in the Gwyn Hall then spent the rest of his time visiting stalls and chatting to traders and the public.
He also paid a visit to the town’s popular Neath Market.
Later on the Saturday, Moruzzi’s restaurant in Neath in partnership with the Council, hosted a ticketed “Evening with Jean-Christophe Novelli” event which was also a great success.
Neath’s own Katie Davies, a quarter finalist in Britain’s Best Homecook competition, also gave a free demonstration in the Gwyn Hall.
In a report giving details of the successful event to members of Neath Port Talbot Council’s Regeneration and Sustainable Development Cabinet Board, the authority’s Head of Property and Regeneration, Simon Brennan, said: “The festival is a testament to collaborative working, with the Council coming together with the Town Council, Neath Inspired, the Town Centre Consortium and the Welsh Government.
“Ingredients for the demonstrations were kindly donated by Neath Market traders and Morrisons supermarket. In addition, Park Lives – a scheme to encourage people to make the most of local parks – provided entertainment and activities for children in Victoria Gardens.
“Feed-back from this year’s Festival has been exceptional, with many traders reporting their best year ever. The only downside was that a few had been so successful, they had sold out of produce by the Sunday.”
Councillor Annette Wingrave, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainable Development, added:
“As well as providing good business for visiting traders, this annual event also provides great benefit to local businesses who trade in the town all year round, and who embrace the Festival and lay on additional attractions and entertainment of their own.
“It also brings many visitors to Neath for the first time with these hopefully recognising the attractiveness and offer of the town and coming back for more visits.”