With just days to go until Bishop Auckland Food Festival, visitors are being encouraged to plan their journey ahead of the weekend.
The free Durham County Council-run event will be returning this weekend on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 October.
Visitors can look forward to trying tasty dishes from over 100 traders and watch top celebrity chefs and bakers such as MasterChef’s John Torode and Bake Off’s Briony May Williams as they cook up a storm for audiences.
With a host of demonstrations, workshops, and entertainment to satisfy people’s taste-buds, the festival is expected to attract thousands of people across the weekend, so organisers are encouraging visitors to think about their travel arrangements.
An accessible park and ride service will be in operation for visitors which will run between Bishop Auckland College (DL14 6JZ) and the town centre.
Buses will depart from the college from 9.30am on Saturday and Sunday, and the last return bus will depart from Newgate Street at 5.30pm on Saturday and 4.30pm on Sunday.
Return tickets cost £2 for adults, 50 pence for children aged five to 15 years old and are free for those under five.
Town centre car parks will be open, but they may be busy and drivers should be aware of diversions due to road closures for the event.
Visitors are encouraged to maintain social distancing where possible and wear a face mask. Lateral flow tests are also recommended before attending.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “As each day brings us closer to the return of Bishop Auckland Food Festival, we hope people are as excited as we are to welcome visitors, traders, and star chefs back for a fun-filled weekend.
“We are expecting the town centre to be busy, so we’re encouraging people to think about how they are going to get to the festival. We will have an accessible park and ride running over the two days which will help minimise delays and ease congestion, allowing people to arrive easily and not miss out on any of the fun.”
Cllr Katie Eliot, Mayor of Bishop Auckland, said: “We are very excited that Bishop Auckland Food Festival returns to our town this week. We want people to maximise their visit to the festival and our wonderful town, so we do encourage festival-goers to ensure that they plan before they arrive, as there are lots of parking and transport options available to get you here safely.”
After welcoming more than 29,000 visitors in 2019, the return of Bishop Auckland Food Festival is expected to help boost the takings of local businesses and support the region’s economic recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
It also supports the county’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025 and is a key part of the council’s vibrant cultural programme of festival and events.
BBC MasterChef star John Torode will take to the stage on the Saturday, along with Yorkshire-born chef, writer, and presenter Joe Hurd and EpiVegan Brett Cobley.
Bishop Auckland’s own Mike Bartley, who dazzled the judges on MasterChef this year, will be cooking up a storm on both the Saturday and Sunday.
And reigning MasterChef champion Tom Rhodes, Great British Bake Off star Briony May Williams and world-class chocolatier Paul A Young will be serving up inspiration on the Sunday.