Thousands packed Olney's Market Place for BOFF09 - to sample the great food cooked up for
The Big Olney Food Festival. (Saturday 19th September).
From the afternoon through to the evening, festival-goers could try a range of delicious foods on offer, watch cookery demonstrations, a version of 'Ready Steady Cook' involving Councillor Debbie Brock and the Town Mayor, Mike Hughes plus live music from talented singers. Little Drama Stars performed 'Food Glorious Food'. Stalls offered food from Caribbean patties, to traditional cream teas, turkey burgers and curries. Jars of Olney Honey and pies from the local Harvest Bakery were also on sale.
Local pubs and restaurants had teamed up to provide a 'Festival Feast' at both lunch and dinner, including delicious homemade starters from The Bull inn and very popular paella cooked in a big vessel by the Much Ado cafe. As befits a town famous for its pancake race, the pudding was a choice of pancakes and filling. A team of volunteers from the Pancake committee made 800 pancakes, led by Viv Evans just two weeks after she underwent a major operation. The team were able to raise sizable funds for next years pancake race.
The event was organised by the Olney Chamber of Trade together with OlneyOnline to celebrate the foodie delights in the town. Sophia Sanger of OlneyOnline said "There was a fantastic atmosphere. We had wanted to showcase all the fantastic food on offer in Olney - and have a party. Of course, it is thanks to our volunteers."
As well as the businesses like Teapots, Much Ado, The Courtyard Brasserie, Evans Turkey's, The Bull, Bacchus & The Four Pillars there were others who volunteered their time. The Swan Inn and the Brewsters from Bramley Accounting, John Durden of Kim Developments and a team from Teapots were among those involved in the big clear-up.
It was a long day for everyone but none more so than for the staff of The Bull, who settled their beer in the market place at 2am - and then had to sleep in the tent all night. But James Lomax, licensee said "It was worth it to be involved in an event where people enjoyed themselves so much. It was a huge success".
For the wine shop Bacchus it was also positive. The owner Russell Heap said “On the Sunday after the Festival I had many people who didn’t come say how fantastic it looked when they drove/walked past, and that they would be buying tickets in advance next year.”
Chamber flags were flying in the town for the whole of festival week. Many pubs and restaurants were serving special festival menus after being set the task of coming up with a two course meal for £10. Shops had been asked to consider a food related theme and the Flower Shop joined in with a beautiful food and flowers display. The Chair of the Chamber of Trade, Kim Durden also involved her business Davis Optometrists in the event by having a window display showing the best foods for the health of your eyes.
The question going around has been, will there be another BOFF? Kim Durden said "It was such a great event for the community and the businesses that we really hope it can be a regular feature of the Olney calendar".
Editors please note that OlneyOnline is happy to make available high resolution images of the event. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event was ogranised by The Olney Chamber of Trade in association with OlneyOnline.com/ VisitOlney.com and both were delighted with the support of the public, the patience of festival goers and the hard work of stall holders.
For OlneyOnline.com/VisitOlney.com it was a successful launch event to showcase the town. With a quarter of tickets for the event sold through the sites, it was also a reminder of how many people get their information online.