Belper festival to serve feast of fun, food and music

Around 10,000 people are expected to take to the streets of Belper on Sunday, for what food-sellers say is one of the best festivals in the region.
Around 10,000 people are expected to take to the streets of Belper on Sunday, for what food-sellers say is one of the best festivals in the region.

The streets of Belper will be sizzling once again this weekend as the town’s ever-popular food festival returns with a feast of mouth-watering delights.

Taking place on Sunday, July 9, from 10am to 4pm, the event brings together some of the region’s finest food producers for a day of sights, sounds, smells and sales.

Liz Page is the clerk for Belper Town Council and the festival is one of her biggest responsibilities of the year, alongside her assistant Rosemary Bridges.

Liz, 45, said: “Logistically it’s a huge challenge, and I’m always glad when it’s over - but the best thing about it is looking down King Street and seeing thousands of people enjoying themselves.

“It’s a brilliant day that brings a lot of prosperity and visitors to the town - and its lovely to see so many Belper residents come out enjoy their home in a different way too.”

Although she has been with the town council for the last 18 months, Liz is a solicitor by trade and most of her work would not get many tastebuds tingling.

She said: “Most of the preparation is about applying for road closures, dealing with the slow drip of interest from stall holders, checking their plans are safe and appropriate, arranging alcohol licences if necessary and passing details on to the environmental health inspectors to vet.

“Then on the day we start at 6am, organising stewards, liaising with local businesses, getting stalls set up to a tight schedule running up to 9.30am.”

Stall holders will be arriving on Sunday from every corner of Derbyshire, and further afield such as Lincolnshire and Stratford.

Liz said: “ The stall holders tell us its one of the best festivals around. Every year it gets bigger and there is more to organise, and each year we learn how to improve.

“We like to get a good mix of food and crafts up and down King Street, Campbell Street and Strutt Street, and then work out where we can put the entertainment.”

Running alongside the festival is a programme of live music covering five stages in Market Place, Nourish at No44, the Railway Hotel, Fresh Basil and the Memorial Gardens - where there will also be an inflatable slide and children’s activities.

Dancers from Belper youth troupes Folk Friendzy and Splitz performing on Campbell Street too.

The entertainment programme is put together by staff at the Black Swan and Tom Stone from the Drop Inn’s Node 56 events company.

They are just one of many local organisations and businesses who will play their part in the day.

Liz said: “Duffield and Belper Rotary will be helping with the stewarding and make sure everyone’s safe.

“Lots of the town’s cafés get involved too, opening up their outside spaces for seating and eating.”

The community spirit is as lively as a hot frying pan, but this year a new development will make sure the event is inclusive for people who need things a little cooler.

Liz said: “We’ve been working with the Accessible Belper group to see what we can do to make the festival better for people with mobility issues.

“So between 9.30am and 10am we’ll be holding our first ever ‘slow shopping’ session when people can get around the stalls without the crowds.”

With an estimated 10,000 people expected at the festival, it is an idea which could make a huge difference.

Accessible Belper is organising a dedicated taxi service for the event, but anyone who could benefit from the quieter moments will be welcome.

Entry to the festival is free all day and free parking will be available at Coppice Car Park, Babbington Hospital and Strutt Community Centre.