Published in Feast issue 41 – November 2019
What’s the big idea behind the first Proudly Norfolk Christmas Festival? Proudly Norfolk Food and Drink Ltd have been expanding the activities that we organise. As part of our rebranding of the organisation in the spring, we decided that our strategy was to offer a second festival this year, and we are looking forward to hosting the event in conjunction with the team at OPEN – and festival sponsors Crown Supplies. There are many Christmas fairs and markets, but we decided we would run a very special Christmas Festival! And all undercover (apart from the reindeer).
There are going to be more than 40 stalls – any new Proudly Norfolk members attending? We have a mixture of Proudly Norfolk members, so visitors will be able to buy unique food and drink gifts and provisions. Plus there will be some specially chosen craft stalls joining us for the day between 10am and 4pm, including the newest member: Olivia Shave of the Little White Lamb Co. at The Studio in West Harling.
We hear there’s going to be a Santa’s Grotto – complete with reindeer – tell us more. Yes, we have Santa and his Elves in their own festive grotto, plus two very special reindeer, their sleigh and a beautiful owl. These guys are on a tight schedule so slots can be booked from 11am to 3pm. We are also having Christmas Carols with the King – yes, Elvis will be in the building! In addition, there will be a choir singing more traditional carols, gingerbread biscuit decorating, festive wreath and decoration making and lots of other children’s activities.
And what’s this about a kid free zone? There is going to be an adult crèche; a special bar area, with comfy seats and newspapers! We are also having a shopping crèche, so you can drop off items to collect later in the day.
What will people be able to eat on the day? Santa is hosting two very tasty meal options: the chance to have lunch or tea with him. Each child will receive a special food box with a present, and be able to eat alongside the
big man. Plus, there will be hot street food available upstairs and the Café at OPEN will be serving festive menu items!
What else can people expect? Each Proudly Norfolk member has been asked to dress their stand, and our sponsors will judge the best; we have already seen a few outfits! There are also several specific Christmas offerings in the making; it really is a joint effort in making this the first of many wonderful Christmas Festivals. Guests can immerse themselves in the spirit of Christmas, as a family or as a present buyer!
And there’s going to be a hamper wrapping service available? OPEN are running a hamper wrapping service, of different sizes, for a donation to the work of the OPEN Norwich Youth Trust. So, you don’t even need to worry about wrapping your presents! A true one stop shop.
Can we expect any more Proudly Norfolk events throughout next year? For the public we are planning four festivals next year – a true collaboration of all things food and drink, with an ongoing theme of knowing where our food comes from, plus creating real sustainability for the hidden treasures of our food and drink businesses, large and small, within our county.
How can food and drink producers become a Proudly Norfolk member? Full details of the benefits of being a Proudly Norfolk member can be found on our website. You can also become an affiliate member if you work in a business in and around food and drink. The website also gives details of all our sponsors and supporters!