Thousands enjoyed fantastic feast of food, fun and real ales at four-day Rugby festival

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Rugby’s first Food and Drink Festival cooked up a real storm as thousands enjoyed the fantastic feast of food, fun and real ales served up as part of the four day festival.

The event, focussed on Rugby town centre from Thursday 26 to Sunday September 29, showcased the amazing variety of high quality food, drink and real ales that the town and surrounding area has to offer.

On the menu were two tasty food fayres packed full of delicious and tantalising treats from local restaurants, bars, cafes, businesses, farms and producers; a pop-up demonstration kitchen, sponsored by Rugby Fitted Kitchens in partnership with Neff built in appliances, showcasing a variety of lively, informative and colorful cookery demonstrations – including Sian Porter – dietician, broadcaster, journalist and mother of three giving us tips on how to feed a family with nutritious good food on a budget.

The festival also offered an amazing kids menu which included face painting, a bouncy castle, ten pin bowling, giant games, magic shows and in-keeping with the food and drink theme a tea cup ride and candy floss!. Children were also able to try their hand at dough tossing with Pizza Express, cupcake decorating with the Hub Café and pizza making with Wild & Free and Pizza Express – scrumptious.

One of the highlights was the snail racing American ‘NASCARGOT’ Championships at Café Vin Cinq featuring Reuben Barricello, Giancarlo Fisishella, Shellson Piquet, Nigel Manshell, Michael Shellmacher and Fernando Alonslow.

As part of the festival and to celebrate the Rugby Real Ale Trail, pub locals peddled around Rugby town centre on Friday 27 on a Beer Bike in a Real Ale relay.

Coinciding with the launch of Cask Ale Week it involved twelve pubs doing a circuit of the town centre on the eye-catching bike before passing on a specially brewed festival beer to the next – a real show-stopper!

Aftab Gaffar, managing director of Rugby First and one of the organisers of the event, said: “I am absolutely delighted with how the first festival has gone – it has exceeded expectations and there was a real buzz around town. It has helped raise awareness of the town’s food and drink offer and increased footfall which is exactly what it was designed to do. I would like to say a special thank you to all those local food and drink businesses and organisations that supported the event.”

Chris Stanley, Director of Unlimited Communications and festival organiser, said: “We have had a great few days with thousands of people enjoying some fantastic local food and drink. There is a real appetite for this type of event in Rugby and feedback to date has been extremely positive. St Andrew’s Church as a venue worked really well and I would like to thank the Church for all their support. Any comments on the festival – good and bad can be fed back via the website or Facebook and twitter. Rugby has some great restaurants and food businesses as the festival has shown – I would now encourage people to support and enjoy them!”

The festival was funded through Warwickshire County Council’s Operation Footfall Campaign and supported by Rugby First, Rugby Borough Council, local businesses and Rugby CAMRA.

For images of the festival or to register your interest for next year please visit