Dorset Food & Drink, Dorset Farmers’ Markets and the Duchy of Cornwall at Poundbury will be working together again for the third Dorset festival at Queen Mother Square, Poundbury. The Dorset Food and Arts Festival will take place at the square in the heart of Poundbury on Saturday 2nd August, the weekend closest to the late Queen Mother’s birthday.
This year’s event will celebrate local food and drink and artistic creativity in Dorset. The organisers will also be working with the New Hardy Players, the Dorchester Community Play and Screen Bites, Dorset’s food and film festival.
Now in its third year, the free festival – which began as Dorset 2012 Festival, to celebrate Dorset in the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics – now has a new name and a fixed date in the calendar.
Building on the enormous success of the last two years, when thousands of visitors enjoyed a festival atmosphere created by a huge farmers’ market, packed music programme, the Olympics and Wimbledon finals (and Andy Murray’s triumph), this year’s festival will be a one-day event, with a mixed programme of arts and performances to make it an even wider celebration of Dorset creativity.
The festival date coincides with the monthly Dorset Farmers’ Market in Poundbury. In addition to the regular farmers’ market, there will be other Dorset food and drink producers, including members of Dorset Food & Drink, the group which was officially launched at the 2013 festival. Blandford brewers Hall & Woodhouse will once again run a bar, and there will be demonstrations in the Dorset Farmers’ Market mobile kitchen by some of Dorset's leading chefs.
There will be a programme of local musicians, bands, singers, etc. during the day. Plans for the evening include music from the Drummer Hodge community play band and scenes from the New Hardy Players’ summer production of Hardy’s Wessex Scenes. It is also hoped that Screen Bites, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, will show a food-themed film.
There will be activities for children, as well as art exhibitions by local students and professional artists in galleries and other locations.
The festival is run by volunteers and is raising funds for Dorset’s hospice charity, Weldmar Hospicecare Trust, and also for the Cinnamon Trust, the charity which helps the elderly and terminally ill. Entry and parking are free, but visitors will be encouraged to use the park and ride from Dorchester.