Seafood and wine festival nets the crowds

MORE than 50,000 visitors and residents flocked to this year’s Hastings Seafood and Wine Festival over the weekend.

The event, which is now in its seventh year, drew in the crowds amid warm and sunny weather.

This year, the festival saw record-breaking numbers with 30,000 visiting on Saturday and a further 22,000 on Sunday.

There were demonstrations in Stade Hall from Billingsgate Seafood Training School, internationally acclaimed celebrity chef Tom Kime and local restaurateur Paul Webbe, along with talks from chefs and groups including Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, and Greenpeace, which encouraged people to support its Be a Fisherman’s Friend campaign.

At the entertainment marquee on the beach there was a line-up of live music, together with street entertainment.

There were also plenty of activities to occupy children, such as story telling with Kevin Graal in the children’s area

Live acts on stage included Dorey the Wise, Cajun Dawgs, and The Big Kahuna.

Other highlights included net making demonstrations, guided walks of The Stade, and the Jazz Breakfast on Sunday with musician Liane Carroll.

Council leader Cllr Jeremy Birch, who opened the council-run event on Saturday with Mayor Alan Roberts, said: “This really was a fantastic event, with some really good feedback from both traders and visitors. Several stalls sold their entire weekend’s stock by the Saturday afternoon, with some then working late into the night Saturday to prepare more. The entertainment marquee also seemed more popular than ever.

“This was the first time that the event had been able to use the whole of the Stade Open Space, and the whole site looked great. A lot of visitors said they enjoyed the new layout, and many commented on the both the wide variety of stalls, and the fantastic atmosphere.

“I would like to thank the traders who exhibited, the volunteers who helped, and the Hastings Borough Council team who organised the festival. We’re famous for many things here, and I think the many visitors who came over the weekend will now agree that we’re famously foodie.”