MUDEFORD'S cultural heritage, local produce and historic links to Christchurch Bay, harbour and quay is to be celebrated at the first Mudeford Seafood Festival.

Taking place from May 25 to 27, the free event will feature some of the region’s top chefs, suppliers and artisan producers with a focus on sustainability, with Mudeford Quay welcoming Michelin-starred chefs to its festival kitchen providing live cooking demonstrations and audience participation.

Celebrities such as Brian Turner CBE, Rustie Lee and will join local talent such as Alex Aitken Chef Patron of The Jetty; Pete Roberts, head chef at The Thomas Tripp / Seafood Shack and Colin Nash from Bransgore's The Three Tunns.

Organised by local events company XC Pop Up, the festival will include more than 60 stallholders including Catch IOW, Seafood Shack, Coral Bay Seafoods and Kraken Seafood Co and there will also be delights from Ridiculously Rich by Alana, Los Churros Amigos and Gourmet Cheese Co.

There is also a focus on sustainability, with the event sponsoring and organising an annual beach clean around Mudeford and Christchurch Harbour as well as setting up the ‘Take 4 from the Shore’ initiative, where organisers will be encouraging everyone to take four items of rubbish away from the shore whenever they visit.

XC Pop Up director Chris Rice said: “We are extremely excited to be organising Mudeford Seafood Festival, an event which we hope will become a favourite each year for all the family and foodies but importantly support and showcase our wonderful local producers, suppliers, artisans and chefs.

“The response across the local business community and helping to get the festival off the ground has been overwhelming and the buzz across social media has been fantastic. We are also very lucky to have Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, Ringwood Brewery, Hattingley Valley, Conker Spirit and The Outdoor Versatile Oven, all on board generously sponsoring the festival.”

Visitors can also enjoy live music from local bands and musicians including The Royal Ts and The Moddey Duo. For the kids there will be a traditional “old skool” fun fair and street entertainers.