THE first Poole Seafood Festival was a huge hit with residents and visitors alike as thousands filled Poole Quay over the weekend.
Hordes of people flocked to Poole Quay over the two days of the festival and enjoyed a wide range of culinary delights and music.
Dorset Food festivals, the company behind the organization of the event, were happy with the turnout and, although it is a ticketless event, they estimated that between 10,000 and 12 000 people attended over the two days.
Director Ben Dyas said: “It went really well. Saturday was pretty good considering it was cloudy and Saturday night was brilliant. The Queen tribute band put on a great show and the fireworks went off really well.
“But Sunday was the best day in terms of weather, and the wharf was heaving. I think it’s as busy as yesterday
“People are having a good time; they loved the sailors’ songs, live music and the many stands on offer.
However, the festival did not go smoothly. Some stalls were forced to close at the last minute due to staffing issues, meaning there were fewer local businesses than expected.
Visitors sampled classic seafood dishes and other international dishes from dozens of stalls and listened to a variety of musical talents, with sailors singing partially popular on Sundays.
Some of the county’s most renowned chefs graced the demo stage, including award-winning chef Ian Gibbs of the Smugglers Run in Christchurch, Pete Miles, owner of Dorset Oyster, and Ian Salmon, chef at Rick Stein Sandbanks.
After a successful weekend, Ben and the rest of the Dorset Food Festivals team are hoping the event has garnered enough attention to make it one of the highlights of the Poole area calendar.
Ben added: “There are a lot of things we want to add to the event but were unable to do due to the Covid restrictions.
“If we are able to do it again, we hope to have a greater selection of local products and even more musical acts.
“We are grateful to the Poole Harbor Commissioners for helping us organize the event. I think with just a few months to plan this we can consider it a success, and we hope to come back bigger and better next year.