Thousands of people flocked to Ramsbottom at the weekend for a taste of the wildly successful Chocolate Festival.
Spring came out for the fourth annual event, but it wasn’t the sun that caused the vast array of chocolate to melt away – it was the shoppers!
Stallholders reported that they were selling out early on both days, as visitors enjoyed the many attractions.
Visitors watched John Costello sculpt a life-sized an Olympic medallist entirely from chocolate.
New this year was a beer tent where local breweries Irwell Works and Outstanding Beers, creators of the Chocolate Festival beer, sold out. A wide variety of music came from rock bands The Genuine Articles, Ring Ring Rouge, and Mississippi Relic, traditional Irish sounds from Siamsa and mellow blues acoustic from Blue Mangeroos, Hungry Bentley, Colin Barkley and The Bourbon Words.
Revellers travelled to the Festival in style on the East Lancs Railway and its Rail Ale Trail tour taking in some of the local sights along the way.
Jackie Kearney, semi-finalist in 2011’s Masterchef, had crowds queuing to taste her vegetarian cuisine from her new business venture The Hungry Gecko.
There were also traditional wood-fired pizzas, paella, award winning ice-cream and burgers and the ever popular hog roast, even chilli chocolate sausages from Walmersley Butchers.
Shops put on special festival offers, including wearable and edible choc jewellery at Red Jewellers; a three-course chocolate menu at The Eagle and Child; and chocolate beers and wines from The First Chop and The Vineyard.
Among the special guests was CBBC's Hacker the Dog, attending the festival on Saturday as official chocolate correspondent. Hacker rapped with Mississippi Relic and interviewed festival mascot Charlie Chick, Paul Morris of the Chocolate café, and event organiser Ruth Shedwick.
You can still win a prize by finding a golden ticket in the Festival Chicken Tikka Massala chocolate bars, which are on sale until the weekend at the Chocolate Café.
Winners of Giant Easter Egg competition for local schools were Daisy Chain Nursery and Hollins Grundy, who both received a craft hamper donated by Clarks Craft of Ramsbottom and an Easter egg from Divine Chocolate.
Ruth Shedwick said: “I work closely with the business groups in our town centres to bring in visitors, especially to local independent shops. This Festival exceeds my expectations every year, with thousands of people having a great time and seeing what “hidden gems” are on offer. I’m already looking forward to next year’s festival.”
If you are interested in getting involved with Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival, please contact Ruth Shedwick at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 0161 253 5327. Follow @chocfestival www.facebook.com/RamChocFest
Member since: 10th July 2012
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