THIRD HELPING OF FOOD FEST

Forth Valley Food Festival will return this October with a series of virtual and socially distanced events showcasing local food and drink producers, growers, brewers and eateries.

The annual festival, which is now in its third year, will take place during the October school break (Saturday 10 – Sunday 25 October).

Last year a wide variety of events were held across Forth Valley over 10 days, from foraging walks and farm tours to wild cocktail making and pumpkin picking.

Festival Co-ordinator Carolyn McGill said: “Our 2020 festival will give local food and drink businesses a boost at a time when they need it most. We’ve extended this year’s programme to two weeks to coincide with the extended school break and allow even more local food and drink businesses to take part. As lockdown eases, we know that socially distant outdoor events are in high demand, particularly with families and visitors. The festival will help raise the profile of local food and drink businesses and attractions, helping them to get back on their feet.”

Organisers will work with businesses to ensure that events comply with Covid-19 guidelines.

Carolyn added: “Last year our annual food trail and promotional campaign offered nearly 50 opportunities to enjoy Forth Valley’s local larder at 12 locations across the region. We want to make this year’s festival even bigger and better, whilst keeping everyone safe. We’ll be spacing events out over the course of the fortnight, holding most events outdoors and restricting numbers at indoor events. We hope locals and visitors alike will take time out to savour what our region has to offer and help our food and drink industry recover from the impact of Covid-19.”

This year’s festival will be hosted by the newly formed Forth Valley Food and Drink network, a Community Interest Company established in lockdown by and for local food and drink businesses to promote the area’s rich local larder with Connect Local funding.

Founding member Douglas Ross, who runs Bridge of Allan’s Allanwater Brewhouse, said: “We’re offering local food and drink businesses free membership of our network until the end of 2020. We recognise how difficult this year has been for the industry, but by joining forces we can use our collective power to raise the profile of local food and drink and bounce back from this.”

Local food and drink businesses interested in joining the network and taking part in this year’s festival should email hello@forthvalleyfoodanddrink.org by Friday 18 September.

Once confirmed, full details of the festival and booking links will be posted on www.forthvalleyfoodandrink.org – the network’s new website showcasing local food and drink.