As the town centre gets ready to welcome thousands of people to the popular two-day extravaganza, the Daily Echo and Food Festival organisers have two tickets to the special evening reception with chef and patron, Lesley Waters, along with TV chef Dean Edwards.

Here are eight things to know about the festival

High Street and Festival Village

Crammed with delicious goodies, stalls will line Christchurch High Street as has become tradition over the years, with stands also in Alley Market, opposite M&S Simply Food.

And following its success last year, the Festival Village will be back at Christchurch Quay with stands and delicious food and drinks on offer.

The popular Italian market will be on the Quay head as well.

Cake, gin, cheese, sausages, cider, herbs, crepes, hog roast, oysters, strawberries, and wild meat will be just some of the offerings in the High Street and Alley Market, while on the Quay, the Festival Village will see delicious bites to eat including churros, pizza, pies, kebabs and Thai food along with plenty of other activities.

For a full list of traders, go to

The Kings Family Fun Day

This takes place on the former bowling green opposite the hotel in Castle Street on Sunday, May 8 with a range of activities between 12noon and 7pm.

There will be live music and a Frozen show with special appearances from Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Kristoff and Olaf.

And as well as an art exhibition, face painting and other stalls, more delicious food will be on sale throughout the day.

For more information go to

Chefs and Demos

The Cook Purewell Demonstration Marquee will be at Christchurch Quay this year, with events on both Saturday and Sunday.

As usual, Festival patron Lesley Waters will be demonstrating, along with a host of other local chefs including Jack Stein, Alex Aitken, James Golding, Barbara Cox, Colin Nash and Simon Hallam.

Dean Edwards, chef on ITV's Lorraine will also be back following his appearance last year.

For full details of the demos and times, go to

Kids Kitchen

Although most places are sold out for this year - they sell like hotcakes (ahem) - a jam-packed schedule of cooking classes are being held at the Priory School for children over the weekend.

It includes a cooking with the chefs class, Rachel's Little Chefs, Susan's Spicy Supper and Sarah's Tasty Thai for youngsters to pick-up new culinary skills.

And there are still places available for sessions on Sunday if you book quickly.

Go to for more information.

The Conker Spirit Cocktail Competition

Who doesn't love a cocktail? No-one we know. And for all of us who want to upgrade from the usual Bloody Mary or Mojito, then this competition is right up your alley.

On Sunday afternoon in the Koh Thai Lounge at the Festival Village on Christchurch Quay, each venue will compete for the ‘Best Barmen’ award, putting forward their best mixologist to show off their Conker Cocktail in a live demo to the public and a panel of expert judges.

Bars and pubs have been busy creating their best mixes over the weeks leading up to this event, with the best being put forward for the grand finale.

AN inflatable pub named in memory of a photographer will be one of the more eye-catching features at this year's Christchurch Food Festival.

There's going to be an inflatable pub

Dorset Mobile Bar will be situated on Christchurch Quay for the weekend, welcoming up to 60 guests at a time, with more space in the 'pub' garden as well.

Based in Sway, the company's pub, The Final Furlong, stocks spirits and drinks from local suppliers including Vibrant Forest Brewery and Dorset Dry Gin from Conker Spirit.

The pub has been renamed The Final Furlong in memory of Simon Furlong, a Christchurch based photographer who worked with sister company Appetite for Adventure.

Sadly, Simon died last year after a short battle with cancer.

“The renaming of the pub is our way of remembering and honouring Si in the business, as he was not just a talented photographer but also a great business mentor and friend to us” said Adie Callaghan, co-owner of Dorset Mobile Bar.

“We also wanted to do something during the Festival to say thank you for the support he received from the tremendous team at Macmillan Caring locally in Christchurch.

"Macmillan Caring Locally funds the Macmillan Unit, a Specialist Palliative Care unit at Christchurch Hospital and they were just fantastic with Si and his family during what was a terrible time.

"We have decided to donate a percentage of profits taken this weekend from the pub to the charity, and the more people we can get down here and get served then the more we can donate.

"We’d just love to make that a very special donation in memory of a very special man."

Can't be bothered to cook?

Throughout the week after the Food Festival weekend there are plenty of events scheduled to suit everyone's appetite and taste.

From top deals at restaurants and pubs to cheese and wine tasting, five course dinners, cocktail masterclasses, jazz nights, fish suppers and tapas, there really is something for everyone.

Restaurants involved include the Captain's Club Hotel, The Kings Arms, The Three Tuns, Splinters, Lord Bute, The Jetty and Purewell Electrical. See the Food Festival website for all the latest offers.

Highcliffe is taking part too

As part of the Food Festival extravaganza, if you still haven't sampled enough goodies, then get down to the Highcliffe Revival Fest on Saturday May 21.

It will take place from 10am until 5pm along Lymington Road, with artisan food, seafood and good meats.

There will also be demonstrations from chef and author Valentine Warner, with a special Kids Kitchen and the Great Highcliffe Baking Competition.

For more information go to

WIN two VIP tickets!

You could win two tickets to the Saturday Night Kitchen, where Lesley Waters and Dean Edwards will be cooking up a storm for the audience.

Welcome drinks and canapés, prepared by the students from Bournemouth and Poole College, await you from 7pm in the VIP Hospitality Marquee before you are invited to take your seats in the ‘Cook at Purewell Demonstration Theatre’.

You will be served delicious breads, olives and oils, with Lesley cooking a delicious Spanish Empanada dish which you will then be served as part of your main course which will also feature an abundance of local produce and salads.

The duo will be showcasing delicious fruit desserts which you will then be served at your table.

Following the theatre show both Lesley and Dean will chat to the audience and welcome any questions.

To enter, email with your name and contact details, including a telephone number. A winner will be picked and notified on Saturday morning.