One of the first food festivals in Wales is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a record number of stallholders and an £8 million boost for the economy.
Llangollen Food Festival was founded in 1997 and pioneered food tourism by creating a shop window for home grown producers.
Since then the event has gone from strength to strength, annually attracting around 8,000 food lovers from far and wide.
As a result, it’s been named as one of the Top 10 food festivals in the UK by the Independent and Daily Telegraph newspapers.
It’s estimated the festival pumps nearly £400,000 into the local economy every year, making a total of £8 million since it started two decades ago.
This year’s festival is on October 14 and 15 and once again it will be held at the iconic Llangollen Pavilion.
Committee member Pip Gale said: “We have a wonderful array of fantastic food producers clustered in the area and this year the festival is going to be bigger and better than ever so we’ll be celebrating our 20th anniversary in style.
“We’re heading for a record number of around 130 stallholders with a fantastic choice of produce, along with demonstrations from the region’s finest chefs so there will be plenty to tempt the taste buds.
“I’m glad to say we’re also making a positive contribution the local economy with food lovers travelling from far and wide because the festival is now firmly and rightly established as a major highlight in the UK’s culinary calendar.”
Among the first to congratulate the festival on reaching the important milestone was Ken Skates, the Clwyd South AM who is also the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, whose portfolio includes tourism.
He said: “Llangollen Food Festival is an incredible success and a great annual occasion for the Dee Valley.
“The economic benefits that the festival brings to the area are considerable and underline the region’s growing reputation as a go-to destination for food lovers.
“Food tourism is something I believe has huge potential for future growth and it is no wonder that North Wales has been hailed as one of the world’s top four must see places to go by The Lonely Planet travel guide.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Jim Jones, the managing director of North Wales Tourism, which represents around 1.500 tourism businesses in the region.
He said: “We are entering a golden age for the visitor economy in North Wales and the increasing importance of food tourism is playing its part in our overall success.
“As one of the first and most successful food festivals in Wales, the Llangollen Food Festival has been a trailblazer for culinary excellence and I would like to congratulate them on reaching their 20th anniversary.”
The regular stallholders at the festival include a husband and wife team whose African-inspired sauces made at their base in Afonwen have won a wealth of top food industry accolades.
Bim’s Kitchen, the brainchild of James and Nicola Adedeji, are preparing to unveil their latest culinary creations at this year’s event on October 14 and 15.
James said: “The festival offers a direct route to our customers. People are able to taste our products before they buy and you get great feedback from them and can gauge their reaction.”
Another big fan of the festival is artisan bread and pie maker Robert Didier from Wrexham-based Orchard Pigs.
He said: “Llangollen Food Festival is fantastic and it’s not difficult to see why it has been named as one of the Top 10 food festivals in the UK by not just one but two national newspapers.”