Traders from County Durham and beyond are thrilled to be involved with the first Chester-le-EATS food and drink festival, hosted by Durham Cricket.
The free event, which will be held on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 of October will see 50 food stalls and vendors showcasing their wares, in a celebration of local food and drink produced in the North East.
It has been launched by Durham Cricket as part of the venue’s aims to expand its events calendar and support the local community and economy.
Ythan Sale, Durham Cricket’s Event Manager, said: “We have had a fantastic response so far from the region’s top traders and have some seriously tasty produce lined up.
“Chester-le-EATS has been launched by us to not only to provide a free family fun day out for all, but to support local businesses and help boost the local economy after two years of not having any events due to COVID.
‘It comes off the success of Chester Fest, a community event which we held in 2019 which saw thousands flock to the venue. Chester-le-EATS aims to build on our excellent relationship with the local and wider community. As well as a food and drink theme, the event will also have an 80s retro vibe – and we will be announcing some top entertainment soon!”
Around 30 traders – which will include a mix of hot food vans as well as local producers – will be at the event; with all street food vans situated in the car park at Durham Cricket and all producers in the venue’s Castle View Suite and Cathedral Suite. They will offer a range of tasty treats and dishes from around the world – and there will be something to suit everyone’s tastes.
Ryan McVay, founder of The Calabash Tree, which offers Caribbean cuisine is delighted to be part of the inaugural event. Ryan, from Washington, grew up enjoying the rich and varied flavours of the Caribbean islands where his mum was born.
“Growing up, my family were always making home-cooked Trinidadian food and it was something that always stuck with me,” said the former firefighter who now runs The Calabash Tree as a full-time street food pop-up and take-away business from Swan Road Industrial Estate in Washington.
“There are some fantastic food and drink events in the North East – and some which have also fallen victim of covid. It is great to see a venue of this calibre launch such an event and I love the 80s, retro vibe. It’s very on trend at the minute.”
Visitors to the event can expect dishes from The Calabash Tree such as jerk chicken, curry chicken and hand-pulled brisket, as well as plenty of other delicious items.
Seasoned street food veterans, Spud Gun Loaded Fries, will also be at the event. A firm favourite on the North East street food scene, Spud Gun offer sensational
loaded fries with everything from bacon double cheese fries; to halloumi fries with pink sumac mayo and fresh mint; and chilli cheese fries.
Owner, Christian Garcia-Miralles said: “Ever since we have got back to working events after covid it’s been fantastic for everyone – people have a real appetite for it again.
“The events are the core of our business, it’s our bread and butter. We do a lot of local and national events, but ones such as this closer to home are what we love – it’s where it all started.”
As well as hot food vans on site, there will be a good selection of local producers selling delicious homemade products. Amongst those will be Scott Wilson-Laing, founder of North-East-based WL Distillery.
Scott combines his passion for gin and the great outdoors by creating gins made with handpicked ingredients. His 1st edition gin features juniper berries with touches of apple, pear, raspberries and blackberries while refreshing flavours of watermelon and mint balanced with the crisp taste of lime and liquorice make up his Wilson’s Gin Club Watermelon and Liquorice gin.
“After a tough few years in business for everyone, it’s great to see initiatives like this being launched. Events like this are a great way to meet new customers, educate them about our local gins and help businesses such as WL Distillery grow.
“It’s great when a new customer gets to hear about our brand story and the passion that goes into making our products. And it’s great for us when they taste the product for the first time and enjoy it.”
As well as food and drink traders, Chester-le-EATS will also feature free entertainment.
In keeping with its 80s retro vibes, traders and visitors are encouraged to dress up for the occasion should they wish (although not essential) and there will be a prize for the best-dressed guest and trader.
Although Durham Cricket will use their own carparks for the event, there will be public car parking in the pay and display car parks opposite Gate 3. The entrance into the event will be at Gate 1.
To keep up with information about Chester-le-EATS, or for any traders wishing to apply, visit: www.durhamcricket.co.uk/events/chester-le-eats/