SLIDESHOW: Rhubarb festival’s the stalk of the city

A love of good food, drink and entertainment brought crowds to the city’s annual Food, Drink and Rhubarb Festival.

And it is estimated that more than 125,000 people turned out to see celebrity chefs cook some culinary treats. Visitors were also kept busy by live music and street entertainers.

Wakefield Food, Drink and Rhubarb festival 2014

Wakefield Food, Drink and Rhubarb festival 2014

Dame Ruby Rhubarb, the festival mascot, kept the crowds entertained in her own unique style and children were able to make animals from vegetables in an activity tent.

Speaking to the Express while holding the potato spider she had just made, nine-year-old Luana Hodkin, from Ossett, said: “I am really enjoying it. I like all of the different stalls and I really liked seeing the DNA demonstration on the Cancer Research stall.”

The event was the ninth annual festival and more than 100 food and drink stalls were set up around the city centre.

Rob and Caroline Gibbon, of Moorlands Farm Cyder were at the event for the first time.

Speaking on his stall, Mr Gibbon said: “Rhubarb cider is our biggest selling cider so it makes sense for us to come here.”

Celebrity chefs included former Coronation Street star Sean Wilson, who played Martin Platt in the soap, Simon Rimmer, from Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, and the festival compere was Richard Fox, who is known as the Beer Chef.

Annalyn Bhanji, who was at the festival for the first time, said: “It’s been very good. There’s a very jolly atmosphere and a nice mixture of people.

“We’ve been round all the stalls and enjoyed a lot of freebies so we’re going to go back round now and buy some of the food we liked best.

“We’ve really enjoyed it.”

Coun David Dagger, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, said: “I am delighted that so many people have visited the city centre this weekend. The three days were a huge success and there was a real buzz around the city. We have had fantastic feedback on the festival from visitors and local businesses.

“The festival has grown in strength from year to year and provides a huge boost to Wakefield’s economy.”

Local chefs included Shaun Mounsey from Create Café, Heather Copley from Farmer Copley’s, Liam Duffy from Iris Restaurant and Allums Butchers, Stephanie Moon from Rudding Park and Ashley McCarthy from Ye Old Sun Inn.