Horsham’s 2017 Big Nibble Local food and drink festival delivers a feast for the senses

Last weekend’s Big Nibble, organised by Horsham District Council, attracted thousands of food and drink lovers who were served up a treat for the senses with fantastic tastes, smells, sights and sounds right across Horsham Town Centre.

The Big Nibble launches the month long Horsham District Food & Drink Festival, which features over 100 local produce based businesses and food festivals in Steyning and Horsham.

At the heart of the experience, the Big Nibble Food and Drink Safari market in the Carfax, organised by Horsham Markets by Food Rocks, presented visitors with a marvellous selection of street food to relish and produce to take home.

Saturday and Sunday’s, live cookery theatre in the Carfax was organised by Sussex Food Network and supplied by Sunnyfields and made for essential viewing. Local star chef, Steven Edwards, led a brilliant cast of chefs, who demonstrated their skills and shared their secrets along with a cast of top local restaurant teams and local produce artisans.

New this year, the Gin Veranda, on Saturday, presented talk and taste sessions from Horsham’s own Cabin Pressure Gin, Crates Local Produce, whose own Gin Corner was popular throughout the weekend, and Piries Bar, who hosted their own gin and local cheese events over the weekend.

Although not Food and Drink related, the guest appearance on Saturday of Transformers’ Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee, in Bishopric, was a great hit. The Entertainer toy store was delighted by the response and promised more character visits in future.

This year’s Horsham Beer (and cider) Trail, sponsored by Hepworth’s Brewery, attracted a steady flow of ‘trailers’ with fourteen bars, shops and stalls providing a quality sup in the specially produced souvenir glasses for just £2. Final stop, The Black Jug, are holding a prize draw from their collection of completed passports to win a meal for two in their restaurant.

The Little Nibble Children’s Food Festival, sponsored by Leaders Estate Agents, entertained children and their families with a range of activities, including: “Messy Church does Science” by Horsham Churches Together, Cookies Kitchen, foodie tales in the Shed of Stories, Crazy Food Figure making with UK Harvest and staff from Leaders and origami lotus flower making with Petals for Peace. Places for People and Horsham Community Responders also had stalls with activities and helpful advice, and Horsham library offered a foodie singalong and foodie stories. Pony cycles, funfair rides and face painting added to the fun on the Forum.

Sunday saw the return of the Horsham Bus Rally, which ran heritage bus routes from the town centre across the district; the open top bus rides were particularly popular, attracting many to visit the excellent display of over fifteen buses at Hop Oast Park and Ride site.

Also new this year, the Big Busk Horsham Street Arts festival saw ten local acts play five ‘stages’ around the town, vying for the public to vote for their favourite artist. An enthusiastic Horsham audience gave the artists great support and huge cheers rang out as the winners ‘Upbeat Rockabilly’, an all-girl dance troupe, received their trophy. Giggling Squid, the Thai Restaurant in East Street, kindly provided a winner’s meal prize.

The Big Busk Horsham was organised by Horsham Rocks and Horsham District Council, with VisitHorsham and the Horsham Facebook page supporting online and putting up their own Amazon Alexa prize. The Big Busk supported local charity Springboard Project, who had their own 25th Anniversary party in the Nature Garden in Horsham Park on the Saturday, including Tom Foolery.

The International Food Festival this year was organised by Wabi, Horsham’s independent Japanese restaurant and bar, centred on Horsham’s ‘Eat Street’ with a number of participating businesses, including Beeches, Carmela and the new Barista Bar joining in, with their own displays and food samples going down well. Wabi themselves ran a Japanese vegetables stall, cocktail flaring and food demonstrations and Nando’s had a children’s chicken burger making activity.

Councillor Gordon Lindsay, Cabinet Member for the Local Economy, is keen for the council to get visitors’ feedback on the event, of which she said: “I thought the two days were amazing. The Big Nibble is a wonderful event for Horsham Town Centre and an excellent launch for our month-long District Food & Drink Festival. This year’s Big Nibble had a number of new ingredients, as we seek to make it an event with greatest possible appeal. It was great to see so many new businesses joining the regular participants to continue the festival’s development.

“Please tell us what you think and share your views, using our online survey, via, so we can make the event even better next year.”

A date for your diaries: The next Big Nibble will take place on 1 and 2 September 2018.

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