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Celebrate the best food and drink in the South West at The Spring Festival – Bristol’s biggest free food festival. The organiser of Bristol’s hugely popular Love Food festival has announced the first taste of The Spring Festival on March 26 – 27. Held at the historic Brunel’s Old Station next to Temple Meads in the heart of Bristol, The Spring Festival promises to be the city’s biggest food and drink event of 2011. Hundreds of producers, chefs, experts, writers, entertainers, artists and musicians will be joining forces with an estimated 8,000 visitors to celebrate, enjoy, and learn about all of the fantastic produce to be found in the South West. Those of you who have attended a Love Food festival before will know that, as well as delivering some hard hitting messages about sustainability and provenance, it is also a family event with a fantastically fun atmosphere. And to make the event even more accessible to everybody, founder and organiser Lorna Knapman has decided to make entry to the festival free.
“I want The Spring Festival to be enjoyed by as many people as possible,” said Lorna. “I feel it is so essential in these times that good food does not get missed off the agenda just because it is perceived to be too expensive. “Like Love Food, this festival is about bringing the countryside to the city. It’s about reconnecting with our communities and the land, enjoying the space and air that natural landscapes offer us. By working outdoors, becoming more in touch with the changing seasons around us, learning to grow our own, eating together and encouraging our children to be a big part of these things, I truly believe that it can have a massive impact. It’s all about having fun while we do it and not over complicating things or making these changes seem difficult or intimidating. The last thing we want is for people to be afraid to ask a question.”

Highlights of this year’s Spring Festival include:
The Love Food market
Seventy handpicked market stalls providing a vibrant, colourful, delicious and informative shopping experience. The market will showcase a fantastic range of amazing local produce and the opportunity for customers and producers to communicate and network, finding ways in which we can create a more sustainable future for our food.
Stalls already confirmed include: Love Patisserie, The Community Farm, The Thoughtful Bread Company, Bath Pig, Upton Cheyney Chilli Farm, Heavenly Hedgerows and many more.
The Cookery School
Some of the region’s best chefs will be sharing their skills with visitors of all ages and teaching them how you can make deliciously affordable food at home. Chefs so far confirmed include Mitch Tonks (Rockfish Grill), Freddie Bird (The Lido) and Ron Faulkner (The Muset by Ronnie).
Picnic area
Street food combined with a bar and great live music. A great place to sit down and enjoy some delicious food with family and friends and soak up the fun and colourful atmosphere. Stallholders confirmed so far include: Venison in the Vale, Bristol Ethicurean, Tom’s Pies, Orchard Pig, Bristol Beer Factory and Agnes Spencer’s Jerk Chicken.
The Garden
Workshops, talks and advice on all aspects of gardening and allotment-keeping, including culinary and medicinal herbs for sale from local growers Glenholme Herbs, bee-keeping, composting, growing fruit and vegetables and the Gorgeous Great Cake Café serving tea, coffee and light refreshments.
The Beach
A fun filled room with a hard-hitting message. Come and enjoy some delicious local seafood from the BBQ, relax in a deck chair, listen to the sound of the sea and fill yourselves with knowledge and inspiring information about what we can do to protect it. Sandcastles included!
The Rant Room
Led by Rude Health’s co-founder and chief ranter Nick, our small but proudly outspoken gang isn’t afraid of standing up for real, honest food – the way it should be. Join passionate food producers and famous foodies as they step onto the hay bale and up to the microphone to voice their opinions.
The Taste Theatre
Fun, informative and delicious tasting sessions with some local experts including Bristol Beer Factory and Orchard Pig in a super ‘Spring Taste Off’.
Art Exhibition
Local artists will show the beauty and wonder of the natural world, food in all its glory and revealing photo stories about the processes and results of local initiatives. All of these things take part under one roof with a fantastic soundtrack, a great atmosphere, lots of happy food loving visitors, massive amounts of bunting, straw bales and fun. Come and join the party!

The Spring Festival will take place at Brunel’s Old Station, Temple Meads, Bristol, on Saturday March 26 (10.30am-6pm) and Sunday March 27 (11am-5pm). Entry is free. More info at www.lovefoodfestival.com