Saturday, 24 June 2017

Road to be closed for street food festival targeted at visitors

Road to be closed for street food festival targeted at visitors

A STREET food festival will take place in Henley next month.

Organisers say they want to celebrate the town being a “foodie” destination and provide something for everyone.

The event will be held in Hart Street from 10am to 11pm on Saturday, May 20 and the road will be closed so visitors can walk around safely.

Local restaurants and traders will be offered the opportunity to showcase their products alongside street traders.

They will be offered discounted rates for pitches and businesses in Hart Street will be encouraged to use the areas outside their premises.

Glen Dining, of Blue Collar Street Food, said: “I want to involve as many local businesses as possible. Priority will be given to businesses based in Henley.

“It will be a celebration of food and drink where we bring together everything that is good about the town. We aim to provide as many food options as we can.

“Whether you are a meat lover, vegetarian or a vegan, there will be something for you.”

Mr Dining already runs a weekly food market in Reading and said he felt Henley was an ideal place to stage something similar.

He said: “I have always felt a food event in the town centre would be perfect as it is a lovely place to be.

“Henley is a foodie town by the nature of its restaurants but I want to bring something different to it.

“It took a bit of time to persuade the council but we see it as a great opportunity.

“It’s a really good fit with the businesses and the number of people who are interested in food.”

Town manager Helen Barnett and the town council’s events manager Paula Price-Davies will work with retailers.

Ms Barnett said the organisers would be sensitive to town centre restaurants and cafés, taking them into account when booking the food stalls.

She said: “We will be approaching all hospitality businesses and cafés before it goes out more widely.

“This will be a collaboration. We are meeting to discuss the logistics and to look at how we are going to market it.

“We want it to be inward-facing and provide areas for people to sit while being mindful of the businesses that are already there.

“We want to do it in a way that everyone is happy with.

“It’s important to keep things fresh, offer new events and re-evaluate the things we are doing to make sure it benefits the businesses, both retail and hospitality, as well as the people who come to the town.”

Henley Town Council is supporting the event. Mayor-elect Will Hamilton said: “This does involve the closure of Hart Street but it is only for one day. I’ve been to the Thame Food Festival and that is brilliant.”

Councillor Sam Evans said: “A huge thank-you has to go to Helen for her work on this. Henley is a festival town to come to.”

The council itself will hold a “visit Henley” day in Market Place from 10am to 4pm, offering visitors information on all the local attractions, including places such as Stonor Park and Greys Court.

Ms Barnett said: “We want to showcase all our businesses and festivals. By linking them together we offer a bigger attraction and more value for the people who attend.”

During the road closure traffic will be diverted via Thames Side, Station Road, Reading Road and Duke Street.

l What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG9 1AD or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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