ORGANISERS are celebrating after a popular food festival won a top award.
A record number of visitors flocked to The Taste of Wickham festival earlier this month.
More than 6,500 people sampled a wide range of food and drink in the historic market town.
And now the festival has been recognised by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) with the Hampshire Award for Rural Enterprise.
Butcher Ben Sawyers, the chairman of the organising team, said: ‘Taste of Wickham is a great event for our community and the local economy, and we’re thrilled that the time, effort and commitment of the more than 40 volunteers involved has been recognised with this CPRE award.
‘In what is a difficult climate for small businesses and town centres, events like this can really unite communities and advocate the benefits of buying local, which in turn has positive impacts on the environment.’
Thousands made the most of the warm September sunshine and the huge variety of free entertainment.
The five cookery demonstrations by local chefs were watched by an audience of more than 50, and many tasted the dishes afterwards.
The children’s activity tent, offering free craft activities and face painting was buzzing all day, and Wickham Tennis Club’s mobile courts proved hugely popular.
Wickham resident Sarah Walker said; ‘We came to this event last year and really enjoyed it so we knew it would be good, but there has been even more to see, do and try this year. ‘
New for this year were the magic shows and stilt walkers.
Other performances included music by singers and bands, singing by the community choir Acca Voce and a dance performance from Roynon Dance Swanmore.
Mr Sawyers added: ‘These events take months of planning with a team of dedicated volunteers.
‘When we see people of all ages enjoying themselves at the event it makes all the hard work worthwhile.’