AFTER months of planning and preparation, the Droitwich Spa Summer Festival gets under way this weekend.
It will be officially opened at 10am tomorrow (Saturday) by renowned food writers and critics Tom Parker-Bowles and Charles Campion.
More than 120 local food and drink companies and Spa organisations and charities will be exhibiting with stalls – they will be spread out in the town centre from 10am to 4pm, including the High Street, Saltbarrow Market, Gurneys Lane and St Andrews Street.
There will also be a Demonstration Kitchen and Catering Village in Victoria Square where visitors can eat and drink, rest and relax.
And there will be the free to enter unior Droitwich Bake Off and Children’s Cookery Area in Victoria Square.
Entries for the bake off, sponsored by Andrew Grant, need to be submitted by 11am tomorrow and the winner will be announced at 2pm.
The judges in the Best Pie Competition – Stephen Hallam from the British Pie Awards, Mr Campion, food critic and BBC Master Chef judge, Andrew Easton from BBC Hereford and Worcester and Tony Archer of Ormerod Rutter Accountants – tasted 27 pies in total and focused on three key aspects.
They included pastry appearance and taste, contents and fill and appearance and overall taste.
The overall winner was the Steak and Kidney Pie from the Spinning Wheel – deemed to have an excellent flaky pastry with a good crust and a lovely buttery taste. The steak was very tender and juicy and the judges were impressed that the kidney was cut to the right size to complement the steak.
The Best Retail Pie was a traditional pork pie from Abbey Butchers in Pershore and highly commended was Pie Creator’s Pork, Rabbit, Chorizo and Garlic pie.
Mr Hallam said: “The range and variety of pies was impressive and the quality overall was very good.
“I am very pleased to see this type of competition take place in Droitwich as it all helps to raise the standard and quality of pies sold.”
This weekend will also see Droitwich have its first ever beer and cider festival in Vines Park.
That takes place from 4pm to 10.30pm tomorrow and between 11am and 10.30pm on Sunday. On offer will be 15 hand-pulled ales and 12 ciders – five of which are new this month.
There will also be 15 music acts taking to the stage in Vines Park as part of the ‘music and beer weekend’, including The Reflections, Haunted Souls, Lady and the Sax, Nth Cave Band and Skabucks who headline on the Saturday evening.
Admission to the beer festival is £3 for the festival Visit www.4shires.events for more information.
• Go to www.droitwichspafestival.co.uk for more details.