The annual two day extravaganza celebrating the best of Isle of Man food and drink is set to return this coming weekend – and promises to be the biggest yet.
The Isle of Man Food & Drink Festival – organised by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture and sponsored by PokerStars – takes place on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September at the Villa Marina gardens in Douglas.
Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, Geoffrey Boot MHK, said:
'This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Food & Drink Festival, which has become one of the largest and most popular events on the Island.
'Our research estimates the event itself is now worth £250,000 to the local economy. But the real focus is to showcase the variety and quality of Manx produce to the people of the Isle of Man as well as those from further afield.
'The growth in the festival over the past decade demonstrates the explosion in Manx produce and products. This has been no accident and is part of Government’s Food Matters Strategy which aims to grow the Island’s food and drink industry by £50 million by 2025, bringing it to a total of £125 million a year.'
The Minister added:
'The festival is a wonderful community event with something for everyone and plenty for families. It offers two great days out and whether it’s your first visit or your tenth I’d encourage everyone to come along.'
With new exhibitors and a jam-packed programme for people of all ages, there will be an eclectic mix of almost 100 things for people to do, see and – most importantly – taste.
Adam Henson, farmer and presenter of BBC One’s Countryfile will be the special guest at this year’s festival. Adam will be meeting exhibitors and guests through Saturday and will be available to sign copies of his book at 4pm.
With samples galore, the Manx Produce Marquee will be home to 25 exhibitors offering a variety of Manx food, drink, art, and craft as well as stands with information on local initiatives such as Biosphere Isle of Man. There’ll also be additional exhibitors above and below the colonnade.
The Manx Cookery Theatre has an exciting programme over the two days, from cookery demonstrations and informative talks, to question and answer sessions.
The theatre will also be home to some of the set piece events of the festival, including:
- An evening talk ‘My Life on the Land and in the Media’ by special guest Adam Henson (£10 per ticket, booking required)
- The finals of the Isle of Man Student Chef of the Year and the Chef of the Year competitions sponsored by Robinson’s, with two student chefs and two chefs going head-to-head to compete for the titles
- Live cooking by renowned Manx-born chef Colin Clague, of Rüya Dubai, who was nominated for the Best Chef Awards 2017
- The result of a public vote to choose the Isle of Man’s national dish, which will be cooked live by local chef Tony Quirk following the announcement
- The annual Isle of Man Hotdog Eating Contest and the battle for the coveted mustard-yellow prize belt.
There will be a wide variety of food and drink outlets to tantalise the crowd’s taste buds. From pies, bread, and fish, to ice cream, coffee, and donuts. Dishes from different parts of the globe will be on offer, demonstrating the versatility and variety of Manx produce for use in international cuisine.
Many of the food and drink exhibitors are recipients of the Great Taste Awards highlighting the growing prominence of Manx produce.
One lucky festival-goer is set to win a luxury hamper of Manx food. Everyone who completes a festival visitor survey, either online at www.gov.im/food or at the festival, will automatically be entered into the draw.
There’ll be plenty to keep families entertained, with activities for children provided by The Buchan School, as well as goats and the festival’s own mini-farm.
There’ll be live music throughout the two days from 14 different performers on a dedicated stage housed next to the festival bar.
This year there’ll be a particular focus on reducing waste and increasing recycling. There’ll also be a chance to learn more about Government’s plan to reduce single-use plastics and eco-friendly bags sharing the ‘Think Local, Buy Local’ message will be available for £3.
The festival runs from 10 am to 9 pm on the Saturday and 10 am to 5 pm on the Sunday.
A day ticket costs £5 and a weekend pass is available for £8. Under 16s enjoy free entry.
Free parking is available on Saturday only at The Bowl car park (Pulrose Bridge) with a free ‘hop-on’ shuttle service. The bus leaves the car park on the hour from 10 am – 4 pm and departs the Villa Marina gardens every half hour, with the last bus at 4.30pm.
The full programme for the festival can be downloaded here.