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Finalists for Pride of Stratford Awards 2017

10
Jan 2017

Congratulations to the BID Member Finalists of The Pride of Stratford Awards 2017

Of the many entries, the following BID members have been selected as finalists in the presitigous Pride of Stratford Awards.

The awards are supported by Simplify IT. 


 Business of the Year with Grenfell James Associates:  Gemini
 
Small Business of the Year with The Federation of Small Businesses:  The MAD Museum
 
Customer Care Award with Shakespeare’s England:  The One Elm, Stratford Town Hosts

The Artisan Award with Stratford District Council:  Hooray’s British Gelato Kitchen, NIYM – The Nut Roastery

Hospitality Business of the Year with Stratford Crowne Plaza: Macdonald Alveston Manor Hotel

Town Centre Business of the Year with Stratforward: The Dirty Duck, A Fine Tattoo Establishment, Gemini, Hooray’s British Gelato Kitchen
 
Team of the Year : The One Elm, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s New Place staff & volunteers

Business Person of the Year with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce: Claire Wright – Gemini
 
Tourism Initiative of the Year: Shakespeare’s Celebrations 2016, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford Butterfly Farm, Stratford River Festival

Organised by 

Stratford Christmas Window Competition Winners Announced!

13
Dec 2016

Stratford businesses pulled out all the stops to take part in the Stratforward Christmas Window Competition.

Florist Hidden Garden and Dr CP Grey Opticians jointly won the prize for Best Independent Retailer in the contest, while Lakeland scooped the top National Shop award.

Compton & Clarke on Henley Street and Meer Street businesses Vinegar Hill and Something Different were also highly commended by the judges for the overall impact, traditional style and effort involved in putting together their festive frontages.

All businesses in the town centre with street-facing windows were automatically entered in the Stratforward-organised competition, which this year had the theme of 'Festive Sparkle'.

Judging took place last week.  Stratforward Director Joseph Baconnet said the judges had been blown away by the efforts of businesses in the town to dress their windows for the festive season.  He said: "I cannot emphasise how important dressing windows for Christmas is. The more we make the town feel festive the more people will be attracted to come here and spend time and money. We have to do everything we can to encourage shoppers into town.   He had particular praise for the independent businesses.  The judges were blown away by the efforts gone to by the independent businesses in particular.  Undertaking a Christmas window takes time, money and effort but as anyone can see when walking round the town it makes a massive difference. Well done to everyone."

The winning businesses received a trophy and a certificate for their efforts in the competition. 

Dr Christopher Grey, optometrist at Grey’s Opticians on Chapel Street, said: “We’re over the moon, we’re obviously delighted.  I can’t take the credit, a young lady called Grace Wheeler did it and she is brilliant. We give her carte blanche to do what she wants and she comes up with the goods. We have got big windows that lend themselves well to a great display. The competition is a great idea, it encourages people to decorate their windows and make an effort.”

Sam Bush, from Hidden Garden in Red Lion Court, said their displays, depicting several festive scenes, were planned months in advance and they’re already full of ideas for next year. My wife and son come up with the ideas but they’re very particular, so I make it, then they change it, so I make it again,” he said. “I don’t like to do things half-hearted, so we really do put a lot of effort in.”

Wendy Holloway, team leader at Lakeland said: “The team at Lakeland are delighted to have won this competition, they are all very excited. She gave special credit to Jenny Fawkner, who was behind the Henley Street store’s displays.  It’s great to be involved in something like this during the festive season. And to win is a wonderful end to the year.”

  

 

Pics

Grey's Opticians - Stratforward director Joseph Baconnet with Nick Grey, from Grey's Opticians

Hidden Garden - Joseph Baconnet with Sharon and Sam Bush from Hidden Garden Floral Design

Lakeland -  Wendy Holloway, Kasia Opila, Marilyn Crichton, Jenny Fawkner, Greg Higginson and Julie Farr, from Lakeland

Christmas Activities in Stratford

24
Nov 2016

Stratford upon Avon becomes Christmas upon Avon!

From pantomimes and productions to activities and workshops, there is plenty to entertain families in Stratford in the run-up to Christmas.

Magic Alley

On Thursday 24th November, Father Christmas will take up residence in Henley Street until Christmas Eve. The man himself will be at Magic Alley, which is being transformed into a winter wonderland of magic for the festive season. Pippin the elf and his magical helpers will transform the whole building into a snow-covered winter wonderland called ‘Miracle on Magic Alley’ which promises to be a spectacular Christmas experience for the whole family. Father Christmas himself will arrive at Magic Alley on the 24th, to be joined by two of his reindeer in a ‘flying visit’ between 4.30pm and 6.30pm. There will be twinkling lights, icicles and snow throughout the attraction, and apparently "more than just a nod towards a certain magical land through a wardrobe".

Everyone that visits Father Christmas will receive a specially-commissioned story to be read together as a family on Christmas Eve, and every child will be given their own Sleigh Bell!!

To book tickets call 01789 290969 and to find more information visit: www.seekthemagic.org/Christmas

RSC

This winter sees the RSC’s revolutionary production of The Tempest, featuring state-of-the art technology, to mark Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, running in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre until January 21st.  The RSC is also inviting families to create star-shaped willow lanterns and take part in a festive winter procession followed by a ceilidh as part of its Winter’s Night family activities this December.

People taking part in the free procession, which starts at the Bancroft Terrace on at 6pm Saturday, December 3rd can create willow lanterns at one of three workshops set to take place this Saturday (November 19th), next Saturday (26th) and the following week (December 3rd) from 2pm-5pm at The Other Place.  The procession is followed by a festive ceilidh in the Studio Theatre at The Other Place with music, hot dogs and festive punch will also be on offer. The lanterns will then be on display in the foyer area of The Other Place together with a shadow box, which reflects silhouettes of winter trees and birds, which will light up the theatre space over December and the New Year.

Other events taking place at the RSC during December include Harriet Walter in conversation about her new book, Brutus and Other Heroines, with RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran. The talk takes place on Monday, December 19th from 5pm-5.45pm in the Swan Theatre.

www.rsc.org.uk

Shakespeare’s Birthplace

There are a range of activities on offer at Shakespeare’s Birthplace this festive season, with its ‘A Very Tudor Christmas’ event from December until January 6th, including making Tudor Christmas cards to talks about Christmas in the Tudor period as well as storytelling.

Shakespeare’s New Place will be turned into a Garden of Curious A-MUSE-ments from December 15-17th, followed by Ruff Making activities from December 17th to January 2nd.

And at Hall’s Croft, from December 1st to January 6th visitors will be able to discover how Christmas has changed in the 400 years since the Halls lived there.

https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/visit/shakespeares-birthplace/

 

Attic Theatre in Coxs Yard

Panto is also on offer at the Attic Theatre in Cox’s Yard, with Beauty and the Beast running from December 16th until January 8th featuring the Prince of Stratfordia.

http://www.theattictheatre.co.uk/ 

 

Escape Arts

Community arts group Escape Arts is running a range of creative Christmas activities at The Old Slaughterhouse from Christmas art camps to a late-night shopping service. Children will be able to take part in activities like creating their own Christmas gifts or making a winter wonderland with igloos and icicles.

There is also a four-week Lego Animation Club starting this Saturday.

The charity is also offering craft workshops including traditional Christmas crafts like sugarcraft, willow angels and Christmas stockings. For more information visit http://www.escapearts.org.uk/

Stratford Town Walk

The popular Stratford Town Walk continues over the festive season - even on Christmas Day. The award-winning guided walking tour with local professional guides meets on weekdays at 11am and Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 2pm. On Christmas Day a festive walk starts at 10.30am lasting roughly two hours.

It takes in the houses connected to William Shakespeare and his family, including The Birthplace, Nash’s House, New Place, Hall’s Croft, as well as the River Avon, Royal Shakespeare Theatres, and Guild Chapel.

http://www.stratfordtownwalk.co.uk/ 

Stratford Arts House

Get into the Christmas spirit with performances at the Arts House. You can start the Christmas season with Stratford Concert Band on December 3rd ’s popular local wind band. The ever popular ‘Christmas Nights’ from Wilson Roberts’ Friends on Sunday, December 11th, as well as a Prelude to Christmas from Stratford Choral Society on December 17th.

No festive season would be complete without a panto. This year Aladdin will fly into the Arts House, with performances at various times from Wednesday, December 14th until Tuesday, December 27th.

http://stratfordartshouse.co.uk/

 

Stratford Set To Sparkle For The Festive Season

22
Nov 2016

Stratford Set To Sparkle For The Festive Season 

The countdown to Christmas is on.....with Stratford’s spectacular lights set to be switched on Thursday 24th November.

The lights - regarded by many as one of the best "shows" in the country attracting thousands of people into the town over the festive period - will be officially turned on next Thursday (November 24th).

The switching on ceremony, which traditionally attracts hundreds of local families, will as usual centre around the Town Hall.  The event will start at 4pm with carols by the choir of Thomas Jolyffe School, accompanied by the Kings Brass.  This will be followed by an appearance on the Town Hall balcony from dignitaries, including Stratford Mayor, Cllr Juliet Short.  This year one lucky young person will get the chance to help the Mayor do the switch-on. The Stratford Herald has teamed up with Stratford Town Council to find a youngster deserving of the honour. 

Just before 4.30pm there will be a countdown from BBC Coventry & Warwickshire’s Vic Minett before the lights are switched on.Shortly after the big switch-on, crowds will hear the jingle of sleigh bells followed by an appearance from Father Christmas himself on the balcony.

After this, the Mayor and Civic Party will leave the Town Hall and parade down High Street to officially turn on the Tree of Light at the top of Bridge Street.  The parade will be led by the Shakespeare Morris Men.  The party then tour the Christmas Market.  Meanwhile, back at the Town Hall children will get the chance to meet Santa.

Its the first Christmas market on Bridge Street and there will be live entertainment with local choir Amicantus performing at 630pm.  

Henley Street Late Night Opening

Do wander down Henley Street as many places will be open such as Magic Alley, Bright Ideas, Compton and Clarke, Nuts in Ya Mouth, Vinology, Bensons, Bensons House of Tea, Fine & Dandy, Traditions of Britain, Timeless Tales, Nutcracker Christmas Shop, & Boston Tea Party!  All are entering into the spirit of the party and staying open late on the switch on evening.   Magic Alley will be celebrating the start of Father Christmas’s residence and will have some of his reindeer outside in Henley Street.  Other businesses are celebrating with mulled wine for customers and music and general merriment and celebration.

Free parking

The District Council have confirmed free parking is available every Thursday from November 24th from 4pm to midnight at all SDC Pay and Display car parks, including Thursday, December 22nd.

The weather forecast is looking positive!  Come and enjoy the festive atmosphere and enjoy the stunning lights.  

Various road closures will be in place on Thursday affecting Bridge Street, Wood Street, High Street, Chapel Street and Sheep Street to allow for the Christmas Market and lights switch on. 

SHAKESPEARE, SUGAR AND SPICE AND ALL THINGS NICE IN STRATFORD THIS CHRISTMAS

10
Nov 2016

SHAKESPEARE, SUGAR, SPICE AND ALL THINGS NICE IN STRATFORD THIS CHRISTMAS

A Shakespeare-themed gingerbread house will be one of the highlights of Christmas this year in Stratford.

The house - a two foot replica of Shakespeare's Birthplace - has been created by Phil Bailey, Head Chef at the Falcon Hotel to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death. It will be on show at the hotel in the run up to Christmas and feature on the front cover of Stratford's official town Christmas Brochure, to be released this week.

The masterpiece was created by Phil and coincided with his anniversary of two years as Head Chef at the prestigious Chapel Lane hotel. Phil, who trained at Stratford College, has previously been Head Chef at both The Belfry and Billesley Manor. He said: “Having been classically trained in pastry by a French chef at the age of 16 it had been a while since I’d tackled gingerbread, but it’s always good to test yourself. I’m hugely competitive with myself and I’m a stickler for detail so the project became a labour of love.”

Phil meticulously researched, sourcing architectural plans and photographing the birthplace from all angles before spending hours experimenting in his own version of santa's workshop.  He spent 36 hours recreating every detail of the building, from its historic beams to leaded windows replicated in intricate icing, as well as adding festive details of a snow-covered roof, snowman and Santa stuck down the chimney.  “The hardest bit was the construction. But I’m really pleased with the end result and I loved adding the finishing touches of sugar-spun trees and Father Christmas trapped in the chimney.”

Stratford's Christmas Brochure - produced by Stratforward - will start hitting doorsteps next week. In a print run bigger the previous years, more than 69,000 brochures will be delivered to homes within a 25-mile of Stratford and another 6,000 will go to BID businesses.

The brochure higlights the best of Stratford over the festive season, with businesses featured on themed pages covering categories of: Him, Her, Children, Wine & Dine, Stocking Fillers and Home. It is hoped that it will remind everyone that Stratford is the place to come and shop, eat and drink and be merry this Christmas!  For suggestions on where in Stratford to buy gifts, things to do, places to eat & drink and stay go click here. 

Ruth Wood, Events Manager at Stratforward, said: “The idea for the gingerbread  house came from a brainstorming meeting of our Events Committee who thought that a gingerbread reproduction of Shakespeare’s Birthplace encapsulated Stratford at Christmas, particularly in this anniversary year.  Phil stepped up to the plate and did an amazing job of recreating the intricacies of the iconic medieval building, all in gingerbread, which is no mean feat. His labour of love is just one example of the talent we have in Stratford and hope to showcase over the festive season.”

STRATFORD RESTAURANTS ARE TOASTED TASTE OF THE TOWN

03
Nov 2016

Four restaurants are celebrating after being voted tops during the recent Stratford Town Centre Food Festival.

The four - La Marina Tapas Bar and Restaurant, Carluccio’s, Wildwood Kitchen and The Stratford Hotel - each won one of four Taste Trails that ran over the three-day event in late September.

Hundreds of festival goers snapped up tickets for the popular trails, taking advantage of the chance to sample tasty treats from more than 30 restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs across the town. Members of the public voted for their favourite venue from each trail.

Antal Viszmeg, manager of Wildwood Kitchen, said: “The taste trail helped bring in lots of new customers, people who had never been to the restaurant before. We’re a large chain with 48 restaurants but we’re not as well known as some of our competitors in Stratford so it was a great way of getting our name out there.”

Steve Bradshaw, owner of La Marina Tapas Bar and Restaurant, said: “It went really well, we had an awful lot of people come in and the feedback was excellent. Since then we have already had bookings from it. Even on the Saturday night we had bookings from people who had been on the trail.”

Barrie Thomas, General Manager of The Stratford Hotel, said: “It was really good, we had a lot of people through our doors and their feedback was great. It has helped us raise awareness of The Stratford, QHotels and our new afternoon tea. It’s definitely something for us to do next year.”

Carluccio’s manager Jen Julian said: “Taking part in the food trail was a great experience to share our love of food with so many people! To win made us all incredibly proud of the food we serve here and I’m sure we will see all of our new friends soon for more delights from our new menu launched this week!”

The food fans who voted for their favourite venue in the Taste Trails were also entered into a draw to win a meal for two at one of the participants. The lucky winners were: Paul Kelly, who gets a meal for two at La Marina; Mary Walker who will enjoy a meal for two at The Stratford Hotel; Tony Morriss, who wins a meal for two at Carluccio’s and Ronald Piper, with a meal for two at The Wildwood Kitchen.

The Taste Trails were just one highlight of the festival, which attracted more than 80,000 people to the town.

It was organised by Stratforward BID (Business Improvement District) in association with market operator Groupe Geraud and showcased Stratford as one of the region’s premier food and leisure destinations.

The festival included free demonstrations from Stratford’s own culinary talent as well as celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, plus workshops and the chance to sample food from more than 100 stalls lining Waterside, Bridge Street and Henley Street, and various markets including the local producer’s area.

(L-R) Matti Hill from Wildwood Kitchen, Dean Grubb and Barrie Thomas from The Stratford Hotel, Steve and Val Bradshaw from La Marina Tapas Bar & Restaurant, and Antal Viszmeg from Wildwood Kitchen.

CELEBRATIONS FOR RESTAURANTS DECLARED STRATFORD’S BEST BITE AT FOOD FESTIVAL

21
Oct 2016

Stratford's Taste Trail Winners! 

 

Nearly 800 visitors snapped up tickets for the popular trails during the Stratford Town Centre Food Festival in September, taking advantage of the chance to sample tasty treats for a snip from more than 30 restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs across the town. Two trails ran on each day.

Members of the public voted for their favourite venue from each trail. The votes have been counted and Saturday’s trail winners can now be revealed as La Marina Tapas Bar and Restaurant on Bridgeway and popular waterside restaurant Carluccio’s, while Wildwood Kitchen on Sheep Street and The Stratford Hotel on Arden Street proved to be the taste of the town for Sunday’s trails.

Antal Viszmeg, manager of Wildwood Kitchen, said: “The taste trail helped bring in lots of new customers, people who had never been to the restaurant before. We’re a large chain with 48 restaurants but we’re not as well known as some of our competitors in Stratford so it was a great way of getting our name out there.”

Steve Bradshaw, owner of La Marina Tapas Bar and Restaurant, said: “It went really well, an awful lot of people come in and the feedback was excellent. Since then we have already had bookings from it. Even on the Saturday night we had bookings from people who had been on the trail.”

Barrie Thomas, General Manager of The Stratford Hotel, said: “It was really good, we had a lot of people through our doors and their feedback was great. “It has helped us raise awareness of The Stratford, QHotels and our new afternoon tea. It’s definitely something for us to do next year.”

Carluccio’s manager Jen Julian said: “Taking part in the food trail was a great experience to share our love of food with so many people! To win made us all incredibly proud of the food we

serve here and I’m sure we will see all of our new friends soon for more delights from our new menu launched this week!”

Food fans who voted for their favourite venue in the Taste Trails were also entered into a draw to win a meal for two at one of the participants. The lucky winners were: Paul Kelly, who gets a meal for two at La Marina, Mary Walker who will enjoy a meal for two at The Stratford Hotel, Tony Morriss, who wins a meal for two at Carluccio’s and Ronald Piper, with a meal for two at The Wildwood Kitchen.

The Taste Trails were just one highlight of the three-day free festival, which attracted more than 80,000 people to the town.

It was organised by Stratforward BID (Business Improvement District) in association with market operator Groupe Geraud and showcased Stratford as one of the region’s premier food and leisure destinations.

The festival included free demonstrations from Stratford’s own culinary talent as well as celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, plus workshops and the chance to sample food from more than 100 stalls lining Waterside, Bridge Street and Henley Street, and various markets including the local producer’s area.

Work is already underway to make the 2017 food festival even better than this year.​

(L-R) Matti Hill from Wildwood Kitchen, Dean Grubb and Barrie Thomas from The Stratford Q Hotel, Steve and Val Bradshaw from La Marina Tapas Bar & Restaurant, and Antal Viszmeg from Wildwood Kitchen.

 

STRATFORD ALEHOUSE AND LOCAL BREWERY ARE TOAST OF THE TOWN

10
Oct 2016

Two homegrown beer-based businesses are the toast of the town following Stratford’s recent food festival. Stratford Alehouse and the Stratford Upon Avon Brewery have come out tops in the popular Ale Trail at the festival.

The Ale Trail was one of the highlights of the Stratforward-organised festival - which took place last month - attracting more than 80,000 people.

Over the two-day event 250 real ale fans took part in the Trail, which allowed them to sample beers from 13 pubs, bars and restaurants across the town. They were then asked to vote for their favourite sample ale across the weekend.

They backed two local businesses by declaring Stratford Upon Avon Brewery’s ‘Louis’s Pale Ale’ - served up at The Stratford Alehouse in Greenhill Street - as their ‘Ale of the Trail’. It is the second year running that The Alehouse has won the accolade.

Alehouse owner Bill O’Brien said: “We’re really thrilled to win the Ale of the Trail for the second year running.

“We’d also like to pay tribute to all those discerning beer drinkers who voted for us, and Stratford upon Avon Brewery for supplying the champion brew.”

Stratford’s resident beer experts from Shakespeare CAMRA were also on hand at the festival to choose the winner of the ‘Experts Choice’ Award.

After sampling a total of 20 beers over the two days, they declared Stratford Upon Avon Brewery’s ‘Stratford Gold’, served at The Bear Freehouse on Swans Nest Lane, the top beer of the weekend with a score of 4.5 out of 5.

In equal second place, all with scores of 4, were: the public’s choice of Stratford upon Avon

Brewery’s Louis’s Pale Ale from the Stratford Alehouse; Greene King’s ‘Mighty Moose’ and Greene King’s ‘Frankenstein’, both launched at the Dirty Duck on Waterside specially for the festival; and Theakston’s Infallible from the Keys and Kitchen in Ely Street.

Shakespeare CAMRA spokesman Phil Mills said Stratford Brewery’s victory in the People’s Choice award was “great news” for the brewery after just two years in business.

He said: “There were a few ales available on the trail last weekend which are generally not regular offerings in the local pubs, such as the Greene King speciality ales at the Dirty Duck, which gave some variety to the offerings.

“That said, it is great to know that the Experts Choice and the People’s Choice are both ales which are available regularly in pubs in and around Stratford, so we can get to enjoy them again all year round.”

FOOD, DRINK, SUNSHINE AND A SPOT OF GALLIC CHARM WOW CROWDS AT FOOD FESTIVAL

27
Sep 2016

Food was scoffed and drinks were quaffed as thousands of visitors poured into Stratford for the 2016 Town Centre Food Festival at the weekend.

More than 80,000 people descended on the town for the free three-day festival, which started on Friday and finished on Sunday.

The festival, organised by Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) in association with market operator Groupe Geraud, showcases Stratford as one of the region’s premier food and leisure destinations.

On the final day, celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli entertained audiences at three packed sessions at the Waterside Cookery School, as well as meeting traders from some of the 100-plus stalls that lined Waterside, Bridge Street and Henley Street.

He said the day was “a beautiful experience”,

adding: “You can see clearly why this festival is successful
and lasts three days because there’s a lot to do, there’s a lot to see.

“It’s very family-orientated which I like and there are all different types of cuisine. I’ve got to say, well done.”

Chef Novelli was just one of the highlights at the cookery theatre, which also saw demonstrations from Stratford’s own food fraternity across the three days, including: a ‘luscious lamb’ dish from Phil Bailey, head chef at The Falcon Hotel; sushi from Bamboodle’s head chef Elio Alonso; and a butchery masterclass from Barry the Butcher’s Adam Lucock.

Elsewhere, workshops on Rother Street market on Sunday included hands-on classes for children, fudge-making with Roly’s Fudge Pantry and a gin-tasting adventure with Vin Neuf, while a new local producers’ area on Waterside gave visitors the chance to take home some of the best the area has to offer.

The festival’s popular Taste and Ale Trails were another hit this year, with 760 tickets snapped up by visitors keen to take opportunity of the chance to try tasty treats from more than 30 restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs across the town.

And with the weather smiling on Stratford for most of the weekend, crowds enjoyed al fresco dining, live music and the chance to look around many of the town’s historic sights.

Stratforward Events Manager Ruth Wood said: “The town centre food festival is a huge event for Stratford and this year certainly didn’t disappoint, with more visitors than ever from near and far across the three days.

“Hopefully all those visitors got a real taste of what Stratford has to offer and will be back over the year for a return visit.”

The weekend culminated with a charity dinner on Sunday night at festival sponsor Loxleys Restaurant, attended by celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, in aid of local charity the Shakespeare Hospice.

MASTER BUTCHER CAN’T WAIT TO ‘MEAT’ YOU AT STRATFORD TOWN CENTRE FOOD FESTIVAL

23
Sep 2016

Ever wanted to see how to turn a whole lamb into the cuts of meat that land on your dinner plate?

You could get your chance this weekend if you head down to the Stratford Town Centre Food Festival.

Local master butcher Adam Lucock, from Stratford’s own Barry the Butcher, will be teaching crowds ‘How to Prepare a Whole Lamb’ as he takes to the stage at the festival’s Waterside Cookery Theatre on Saturday.

His demonstration is just one of the highlights of the three-day festival, which returns to Stratford-upon-Avon this Friday, running until Sunday (September 23-25).

The festival, organised by the award-winning events team at Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID), attracts thousands of visitors to the town and showcases Stratford as one of the region’s premier food and leisure destinations.

This year’s food-filled extravaganza features top-flight chef Jean-Christophe Novelli who will  take to the stage on Sunday, plus as a host of Stratford’s own culinary talent showing off their skills from fudge-making to gin-tasting in a range of demonstrations and workshops.

Adam Lucock’s session at midday on Saturday will see him show how to transform a whole lamb into 14 cuts of meat suitable for roasts, barbecues, grills and casseroles.

Adam, who set up Barry the Butcher 32 years ago with his late father Barry, said: “We’re a traditional butchers with a modern view of meat preparation. We pride ourselves on the quality and the increasingly different cuts of meat we offer to our customers both in the shop and the many pubs, restaurants and hotels we supply.

“We’re fortunate enough to have excellent meat right on our doorstep, from local Cotswold lamb, prime Hereford beef and free range pork. Our team of highly-skilled butchers ensure we continue to provide the very best quality and service that our customers have come to expect.

“The town centre food festival is a great opportunity to let people see what goes on behind the scenes in preparing their lamb chops or Sunday roast.”

As well as a range of demonstrations and workshops, visitors can take part in the festival’s popular Taste and Ale Trails, which allow lucky ticket holders to sample tasty treats from more than 30 restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs across the town. 800 tickets have already been reserved for the Taste Trail and only a few Ale Trail tickets are available.

The festival, organised in association with Geraud Markets and sponsored again by local restaurant Loxleys, will see the town centre packed with at least 100 stalls showcasing the best of local food and produce, as well as live music and al fresco dining.

And new for this year, there will be a Local Producers Area on Waterside on Friday and Saturday.

Stratforward Events Manager Ruth Wood said: “Tickets are selling fast for all of our events, from the Taste and Ale Trails to Jean-Christophe Novelli’s workshops on Sunday, so if you’re interested, sign up now.

“Months of preparation have gone into the event - the chefs are warmed up, the knives are sharpened, the produce is prepared and the weather forecast is looking good so it’s going to be a fabulous weekend all round!”

For more information and to reserve places on any of the workshops or to get Taste and Ale Trail tickets, please visit the Stratford Town Centre Food Festival website at http://www.stratforward.co.uk/events/stratford-town-centre-food-festival/