Ashby Food Gusto Festival attracts huge crowds to the Bath Grounds as it returns for the first time since 2019

By Graham Hill

28th May 2022 | Local News

Ashby shop Sweet Memory Lane has a display at the Food Gusto event. All Photos: Ashby Nub News
Ashby shop Sweet Memory Lane has a display at the Food Gusto event. All Photos: Ashby Nub News

The return of the Ashby Food Gusto Festival to the Bath Grounds was hailed a success by organisers - with up to 4,000 people per day expected for the weekend event.

Crowds flocked to the festival first thing on Saturday morning and, after opening the gate at 10.30, it was already well attended by 11am.

With the Covid pandemic forcing the event to be cancelled for the past two years, it was clear that one of the biggest events on the Ashby calendar was as popular as ever.

Big crowds were on the Bath Grounds this morning

The festival - which continues tomorrow (Sunday) - brings together food and drink producers from all over Midlands.

One standholder had come from Rotherham and there were also a number of Ashby-based companies with displays.

Organiser Alison Ewing said the event had turned out just as she hoped it would.

She told Ashby Nub News: "We had a queue at the start and then we had a steady stream of people coming through.

"I think people are ready for events like this after the two years we've just had.

New Ashby Mayor Cllr John Deakin and Mayoress Karen

"I'd estimate we'd be expecting around 3,500-4,000 per day which is just what we'd hoped.

"But it's not those numbers at any one time.

"The last time we were here was 2019, and had planned to come back last year, but there were too many Covid restrictions in place still.

"We only do four events a year so we can do them properly.

"Ashby de la Zouch Town Council gives us tremendous support - not only for this, but also for the Christmas Market Street event too which we did last December.

"The Bath Grounds is such a great venue and the town is looking great, I know it's for the Jubilee, but the area here has been mown twice, and those things make a difference.

"It's such a clean area for us to hold an event like this."

Alison also said they had a choice whether or not to move the festival to the Jubilee holiday next weekend - but decided to stay where they were on the calendar.

She added: "This would normally be the Bank Holiday weekend.

"But the Food Gusto team is family and friends and people will be doing lot of other things next weekend.

"So we kept it as it was - the last weekend in May.

"I didn't want to detract from the Jubilee events.

"The good thing was the weather is calm - no dramatic storms - and it's dry.

"There was one event in the memory where we had to cancel, but that's the only one.

"But over the last 12 years, we've been pretty lucky with the conditions."

The event is the first one since organiser Wesley Ewing sadly passed away two years ago.

His widow Alison added: "It was devastating and still is.

"But in many ways, this is his legacy. There was a pride to see if we could still do the event, I am now the event manager.

"He had a passion or local and regional food which started with coffee.

"Fifteen years ago you couldn't get a proper coffee at an event like this, which is why we run the coffee stand here."

     

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