It’s not often that the Derbyshire Dales hosts a world first.
But the Bakewell Baking Festival is looking to change all that by becoming the only one of its kind worldwide.
The festival weekend of June 8/9 aims to be an explosion of food, baking, music, theatre and much more and is already attracting some high-profile attention.
Until a few days ago Paul Morgans was the mayor of Bakewell – a badge of honour that he’d gladly have worn for a second term if he could. But his year in office came to an end in time-honoured tradition, enabling the former first citizen to focus on this pioneering event.
Paul and his partner Janet Reeder are the driving force behind Bakewell Baking Festival which they claim is the first of its kind in the world.
“No-one has done a festival exclusively for baking,” said Paul, a photographer and film-maker.
“It’s a God-given for Bakewell...we have got the heritage, we have got the Bakewell pudding.”
Janet, a freelance editor and journalist, said: “We have used baking as a springboard for a massive celebration. The festival is eccentric English country fair meets the Great British Bake-Off.
“We want to see families riding around on a vintage bus, nipping into the church for afternoon tea, enjoying a theatre performance and sitting beside the river having a picnic with food they have bought from the stalls.
“We’re encouraging people to dress up as Mr Darcy for a custard pie fight. Naturally, we’d like to see them emerge from the river in wet shirts! The object will be for groups to pie other Darcys while protecting their own.
“We want to get the whole family involved so we’re having a Mad Hatters Tea Party where children can come along in fancy dress.
“Our aim is to make people happy, to make people smile in this beautiful town we live in.”
The retro flavour of the festival is designed to pull in a new generation of bakers. A lot of young people love vintage and they love baking,” said Paul.
“Their parents are the ready meal generation who have missed out on the tradition of baking. We are talking it up as the new punk...young people always like things that their parents aren’t into.”
Stacie Stewart of Food Glorious Food fame and Yorkshire’s Edd Kimber from the Great British Bake-Off will be heading cookery demonstrations during the festival.
Paul said: “They are the next generation of celebrity chefs. Stacey is the new Hairy Biker and Edd is the new Nigel Slater.”
The trail-blazing festival will include the creation of the first Yorkshire Bakewell Pudding by Chris Blackburn, twice winner of the Great British Pudding Challenge.
Janet and Paul are keen to see the volunteer-led, not-for-profit festival grow year on year.
“We’re charging for tickets so the festival can be sustainable,” said Janet. “If you go for grants every year and someone drops out, then you can’t continue to put it on.”
They’ve called in favours from friends, attracted sponsorship from businesses and sourced other funding avenues for the £50,000 event which Paul estimates would have cost double that amount without the support.
And for one weekend at least, there will be plenty of car parking spaces in Bakewell with fields at Haddon Farm catering for the influx of festival visitors. Tickets to the festival cost £15 per day and £25 for both days or £10 for those living in the DE45 postcode area.
To book or find out more contact Bakewell Baking Festival on 07968 140727.
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