Festival’s £250k boost

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MORE than 40,000 people are expected to take part in this year’s Wigan Food and Drink Festival, boosting the local economy by an estimated £250,000.

Local businesses have been at the forefront of this year’s festival, offering support and sponsorship, despite the tough national economic climate.

But the generosity will be repaid when the tens of thousands of visitors get spending at one of the many events organised by Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust.

Richard Broadly, general manager of main food and drink sponsor Hitchen Foods, said: “Sixteen per cent of the local economy in Wigan and Leigh is involved in food production so it’s a major employer and component of Wigan life.

“This festival gives businesses like ours the chance to highlight and shine a spotlight on local restaurants, restauranteurs, chefs, suppliers and producers in a genuine celebration of what is good about Wigan Borough’s food and drink industry and we’re proud to once again be involved with this wonderful festival.”

Highlights this year during the 10-day festival include a demonstration and dinner hosted by celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli. Returning by popular demand to the new Piazza in Wigan town centre will be the wonderful Lancashire Hotpots. There will also be Fine Food Trails, a packed events programme and the ever popular outdoor Kitchen Theatre.

The Festival starts tomorrow with the Wigan Beer Festival at Robin Park Indoor Sports Centre. Organiser Keith Bergman from Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust said: “A full and varied programme has been put together during what are challenging economic times for Wigan’s businesses and particularly for our small enterprises.”