Record numbers of tourists and locals are expected in Dungarvan next weekend for its 10th annual food festival.
Locally sourced, grown, and produced food is what inspired the beginning of the West Waterford Festival of Food a decade ago.
And, according to CEO Claire Dalton, the ethos remains the same today.
Reflecting on the success of the festival since it first opened in 2008, Ms Dalton says it has evolved over the years.
“We were pulling out the old brochures from the first year and, funnily enough, some of the things on it like the restaurant trails are still going,” she said.
“We totally review all our events every year after the festival and what worked and what didn’t, and what needs work and what we should let go of, so we do a full post-festival review on it and keep on top of food trends.”
Those food trends include ‘Superfood Saturday’ and the introduction of the ‘Health Hub’ — a dedicated space for health food trends, talks, and demonstrations.
With more than 60 events on offer from Friday to Sunday, including foraging trails, bus tours, and cooking demos, Ms Dalton says there is something there for everybody.
A new addition to this year’s festival is the Food Trail Cycle on the recently-opened Waterford Greenway.
The 46km off-road cycling, running and walking trail is along an old railway line between Dungarvan and Waterford.
And, with the festival falling during the Easter holidays, there will be increased family and daytime activities scheduled for this Friday, something the festival has not done in the past.
One of the most popular events every year is the Sunday market, which Ms Dalton says the festival has become known for.
“The focus is local and artisan so I think because of that the customers know that and know what they get is going to be good,” she said. “The traders feel people come to shop and to buy and really explore the market so it’s really good for them.”
The theme of this year’s festival is the 10th birthday celebration and with 25,000 people visiting the town last year, Ms Dalton credits the local community with the festival’s success.
“It’s a total community festival which is brilliant and not everybody has that, so we’re very lucky,” she said. “The whole Dungarvan West Waterford community really get on board with it, from the businesses to all the voluntary groups, the local groups, the scouts, the brownies, the guides, and Comhairle na nÓg.”
Full programme: www.westwaterfordfestivaloffood.com
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