Festive season kicks off with Lincolnshire Food & Gift Fair

Last weekend saw festive cheer fill the Lincolnshire Showground with the return of the popular Lincolnshire Food & Gift Fair.

The Showground saw more than 8,000 visitors enjoying 150 exhibitors specialising in everything from locally produced food to handcrafted gifts. Returning for its fourth year, Santa’s Workshop was a highlight for hundreds of youngsters over the two-day event. Families enjoyed learning how to weave willow, as well as making festive wrapping paper and cards or getting cosy and listening to a story; all for free.

For the first time, children could get involved with cookery workshops in Santa’s Baking House, making soft serve cookie dough with 42nd East Bakehouse and chocolate orange brownies with Dominic Franks.

12-year-old visitor Mia, from Lincoln, said: “I loved baking the chocolate orange brownies and I can’t wait to take them home with me! The workshop was really fun and interesting. I’ve never made brownies before, but I’ll make them at home now!”

Local food and drink suppliers also offered everything from locally distilled rum and gin, to famous Lincolnshire sausages and speciality cheese, whilst The Lincolnshire Kitchen came to life with local chefs and producers taking to the stage to share their culinary skills.

Visitors were encouraged to visit Santa at the Rotary of Lincoln’s stand and spread some seasonal goodwill by donating toys and gifts to the Christmas Sack Appeal, which supports families in need of a helping hand.

Donations of unwrapped gifts are still being collected at the Lincolnshire Showground’s EPIC Centre until 12 December. They will then be taken to Bridge Church Lincoln where families will be able to choose gifts for themselves and their children in the run up to Christmas Day.

Jayne Southall, CEO of the Lincolnshire Showground, said: “The Lincolnshire Food & Gift Fair is always a magical weekend. From local choirs creating the perfect seasonal atmosphere to top festive cooking tips from The Lincolnshire Kitchen, it really is the perfect way to kick-off the Christmas season.

“This is the fourth year we’ve run Santa’s Workshop and it was a real hit with our younger visitors once again; letting them get hands-on with a whole range of activities with local business. including making pizzas with Good Lookin Cookin and festive wrapping paper and cards with Hobbycraft Lincoln.

“The first Lincolnshire Food & Gift Fair was held back in 2001 as a result of the annual Lincolnshire Show being cancelled due to the foot-and-mouth outbreak - we are so thrilled to still be holding such a celebration of Lincolnshire produce almost 20 years later. It goes from strength to strength each year and I’m pleased to say that this year was no different with over 8,000 people joining us over the weekend.

“A huge thank you to everyone who made this year a magical affair, and to everyone who plays a part in the ongoing success of the fair. Next year will be our 20th year, and we’re already looking forward to making it better than ever – see you there!”

Mike Timson, chief executive of Visit Lincoln, sponsors of the Lincolnshire Kitchen, said: “The Food & Gift fair was a complete success for our food and drink project Taste Lincolnshire. From Friday’s Preview Evening all the way through to Sunday there was a consistent flow of customers and interest in our stall. We would recommend this show to all producers and businesses in the area and look forward to working with the Showground team again in 2020.”