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Thousands enjoy bumper Food & River Festival

Belinda Pocock Adrienne Westbrook and Henry Farrant

THOUSANDS of people flocked to this year’s Melksham Food & River Festival in King George V playing field to enjoy a weekend packed full of activities, stalls and entertainment.

Seven thousand visitors enjoyed attractions over the weekend that included a thrilling raft race; boat rides along the river; the chilli eating contest, a fun fair; and over 70 food stalls – available for the first time on both days of the festival.

“It was really good to have the food stalls across both days,” said chair of the organising committee, Adrienne Westbrook,  “that was a definite success. I have to say that I sampled most of the hot food available and it was all excellent! The weekend was highly successful, there was lots to see and do. We were really pleased with the turnout from the residents of Melksham and the surrounding towns and villages. 

“I’ve been going through the feedback and on the whole it is very positive – people are saying that they really enjoyed it.

“On the Saturday we had about 4,000 people and on the Sunday, around 3,000 – which was an incredible amount of people.

“I personally enjoyed the atmosphere – it was incredibly friendly and family orientated, with everyone enjoying themselves – it was a thoroughly enjoyable atmosphere. 

“The music was amazing – the Sweet Swing Trio, the Decibelles and the Warminster Military Wives were fantastic and Burbank on the Sunday were amazing. It was the right type of music for the festival. Overall, it was a very enjoyable weekend.

“Finally, I must say thank you to all our sponsors, who make the Food & River Festival possible – without them, it wouldn’t happen.”

One highlight included the popular chilli eating contest that was won by Shahina Waseem, who calls herself the UK chilli queen. The Melksham competition brought Shahina’s chilli eating winning streak to 42 competitions in a row. Shahina told Melksham News that when she reaches 50 wins, she will apply to register her record with Guinness World Records.

The Melksham Food & River Festival committee are expected to meet soon to discuss plans for next year’s event. “I can’t confirm anything, but I hope that we will repeat the success of having the food stalls across the whole of the weekend,” said Adrienne.

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