Crowds flock to Wakefield as rhubarb festival begins

Bustling Wakefield city centre was alive with the tastes of local produce today as the 12th annual Food, Drink and Rhubarb Festival got underway.

Friday, 23rd February 2018, 4:13 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd February 2018, 4:20 pm
Ruby Rhubarb at Wakefield Food, Drink and Rhubarb Festival 2018.

Crowds of people flocked to the cooking demonstration tent in the Bull Ring for expert tips while stalls selling all manner of rhubarb-themed goods lined Kirkgate.

The Wakefield Council event will run until 4pm on Sunday and will feature a range of families activities and special guests over the weekend, including celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli at noon and 2pm tomorrow (Saturday).

Wakefield BID manager Liz Murphy said: "I think it's one of the busiest days already that I've seen in the last four or five years that I've been a part of it.

Ruby Rhubarb at Wakefield Food, Drink and Rhubarb Festival 2018.

"I'd like to welcome everyone to come along and see the fantastic stalls and all the exhibitions that are going on and it's a great place to come and visit."

Mr Novelli told the Express: “When I was asked to come back I said, straight away, ‘yes’. I really enjoyed it last time and the time before. It was a place you can mellow with everyone.

“The local produce is fabulous and all the different stalls were amazing. There is a good spirit and there is not another festival like it in Britain.

“Rhubarb is key to the identity of Wakefield. There so many wonderful recipes and different ingredients, and I am delighted to come back.”

Ruby Rhubarb at Wakefield Food, Drink and Rhubarb Festival 2018.

The festival includes more than 70 stalls selling a variety of rhubarb produce such as breads, cakes, sausages and pies.

It features a new family marquee in the Bull Ring, jam-packed with activities and entertainment for younger visitors.

The demonstration tent will also welcome top local chefs including Heather Copley from Farmer Copley’s, Ashley and Ben McCarthy from Ye Old Sun, Fiona Sciolti from Sciolti Chocolates, David Jones from Bier Haus, and Stephanie Moon from Rudding Park.

And festival mascot Ruby Rhubarb was on hand throughout day leading the festivities and taking pictures with visitors.

Coun Jacquie Speight, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “This year’s festival promises to be the best one yet. Some of the region’s tastiest food and drink will be on offer, alongside amazing cookery demos, fabulous street entertainment and kid’s activities.

“There really is something for everyone. So come along and join us this weekend.”

It will be hosted throughout the city centre and run from 10am until 5pm on Friday and and Saturday, and 10am until 4pm on Sunday.