Swaffham celebrates its past and present on festival weekend

Swaffham farmers' marketpart of Brecks Food Festival'Mary Kemp and Caroline Holmes ANL-150921-070504009
Swaffham farmers' marketpart of Brecks Food Festival'Mary Kemp and Caroline Holmes ANL-150921-070504009
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Dozens of producers seized the chance to show off their wares to shoppers as Swaffham staged the latest celebration of its market heritage.

A range of events were held at venues across the town as part of a three-day food and drink festival at the weekend.

Swaffham farmers' marketpart of Brecks Food Festival'Nick Wilkin Town Crier ANL-150921-070453009

Swaffham farmers' marketpart of Brecks Food Festival'Nick Wilkin Town Crier ANL-150921-070453009

Among the highlights was a special farmers’ market in the Market Place on Sunday, which attracted more than 30 local producers to showcase their products to the crowds.

There were also many extra stalls on the traditional Saturday market, while a climbing wall attracted some of the younger visitors.

And organisers estimated that more than 1,000 people attended an international food event, showcasing dishes from more than 20 countries, in the nearby Assembly Rooms on Sunday alone.

Residents were given grants, distributed from the North Pickenham Windfarm Temporis Community Fund through the Norfolk Community Foundation, to purchase ingredients for national dishes to share with visitors.

Swaffham farmers' marketpart of Brecks Food Festival'left to right Ian Robertson, Candi Robertson and Sarah Simonds ANL-150921-070549009

Swaffham farmers' marketpart of Brecks Food Festival'left to right Ian Robertson, Candi Robertson and Sarah Simonds ANL-150921-070549009

The weekend, which was also part of the annual Brecks Food Festival, was based on a market theme to mark the 800th anniversary of the earliest written reference to a market in Swaffham in 1215.

David Wickerson, chairman of the Town Team, which has led the organisation of the celebrations, said: “It was another highly successful weekend with the best of Swaffham’s heritage and hospitality to the fore.”

The programme of celebratory events was largely funded by a grant of just over £36,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and officials visited Swaffham on Saturday to see the events for themselves.

As well as the traditional weekend market, the tour included stops at the town’s museum, examples of the new town trails which were launched earlier in the year and a host of activities for children in the community centre.

Swaffham farmers' marketpart of Brecks Food Festival ANL-150921-070442009

Swaffham farmers' marketpart of Brecks Food Festival ANL-150921-070442009

The festival programme had begun on Friday with the regular indoor market at the Assembly Rooms.

Then, in the evening, dozens of people attended a film evening dedicated to the town’s auction.

Former auctioneer Tony Abel shared his memories of the sale, while films showed his father, Noel, and renowned character Tyrone Roberts in action.

Meanwhile, a competition for the best dressed shop window, based on the theme of the market’s anniversary, was won by the Ceres bookshop in London Street. The entries were judged by MP Elizabeth Truss and mayor Anne Thorp.

Swaffham farmers' marketpart of Brecks Food Festival'Philip Reed ANL-150921-070526009

Swaffham farmers' marketpart of Brecks Food Festival'Philip Reed ANL-150921-070526009

There was also a packed programme of locally-inspired demonstrations in a cookery theatre hosted by chef Mary Kemp and food broadcaster Caroline Rhodes.

Among the dishes created was a “Tiramasu bomb” for which Mary was joined on stage by town crier Nigel Wilkin.