THE pièce de résistance of the Emsworth British Food Fortnight is expected to draw scores of hungry revellers over the coming days.
The town will play host to its Big Feast Weekend – comprising an array of tasty events which have made the two-week spectacular so popular, locally and nationally, since it was established in 2014.
Beginning at 6pm tonight, booze lovers are invited to enjoy the three-day Beer and Cider Festival at Emsworth Community Centre.
Across four sessions, including two on Saturday from 11am and 6pm, and another on Sunday from midday, visitors will get the chance to try 30 local and award-winning ales.
Ciders, wines, gins – and even apple juices – will also be on offer.
Tickets are £10 per person, per session, can be booked via wegottickets.com and include a souvenir glass and a programme.
However, the final session from midday until 4pm on Sunday – which typically sees revellers ‘drink the community centre dry’ – is free to attend.
Dubbed the Grape Escape for 2018, Emsworth’s annual wine festival also returns at 11am on Saturday morning.
This year held in South Street car park, organised by four local merchants, it is set to showcase more than 30 wines – including offerings from award-winning English brands Hambledon Vineyard and Raimes Vineyard.
But there will also be wines from regions further afield, as well as a wine-tasting experience with Montezuma’s Chocolate and a meet-and-greet with acclaimed author of A Celebration of English Wine, Liz Sagues to enjoy.
Sessions for the Grape Escape will run from 11am until 4.30pm on Saturday and 11am until 4pm on Sunday and tickets are £5 – which include tastings, a tasting booklet and a limited edition glass to take home.
Finally, a community mainstay of the Emsworth British Food Fortnight, hundreds of residents are expected to descend on St Peter’s Square on Sunday for the much-loved Apple Pressing Day.
Running from 11.30am until 2pm, the feat will invite revellers to bring along their own apples and have them pressed and bottled – complete with a label designed by seven-year-old St James’ Primary School pupil, Eve Ledieurt.
On the return of the British Food Fortnight as a whole, Emsworth Business Association chairman, Giles Babb, said lovers of food, drink and their community have good reason to celebrate.
‘The Emsworth British Food Fortnight is not just another food festival, this is a real celebration embracing community, education and the local region through its people and its food,’ he said.
‘It’s no secret that high streets across the UK are facing difficult times. This is a brilliant opportunity to showcase just what can make the high street such a special place and an important part of any community.’
What else is happening at the Big Feast Weekend?
There is something for everyone at the Big Feast Weekend in Emsworth. Below are some events not to be missed:
:: Hampshire Farmers’ Market – at the South Street car park. Saturday, 10am-2pm
:: Thought for Food Local Showcase Market – at the South Street car park. Saturday, 10am-6pm and Sunday, 10am-4pm.
This will showcase the offerings of producers from across West Sussex and Hampshire, alongside 12 live music performances curated by Harbour Records.
:: A real ale marquee – Saturday and Sunday at the Coal Exchange, South Street.