Pub in the Park will be coming back to St Albans after success of inaugural event
- Credit: Archant
Pub in the Park should be returning to St Albans next year after a phenomenally successful debut this weekend.
Festival host and celebrity chef Tom Kerridge told the crowd on Sunday night: "You have eaten more than any other city we've been to. You've drank almost as much as Bath. Next year, when we come back, you'll have to show the West Country how it's done. St Albans thank you so much for coming to see us. We'll see you next year!"
The food and drink event, which took place in Verulamium Park, completely sold out over the three days, and the comments on social media have been overwhelmingly positive. Just over 18,000 visitors attended and the people of St Albans ate over 30,000 dishes across the weekend.
The organisers spent approximately £25k on concrete blocks to support the tents, marquees and stage fittings around the park and protect the Roman remains beneath the surface from being damaged by poles.
There were 87 food and drink exhibitors and 10 pop-up restaurants while the crowds ate over 30,000 dishes and ran up a bigger drinks bill than any of the other venues.
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The district council wants to hear from residents and organisations whether they felt Pub in the Park was a success and would be happy for it to return next year.
Councillor Anthony Rowlands has responsibility for overseeing the council's parks and green spaces as Portfolio Holder for Community, Leisure and Sport.
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He said: "This was one of the biggest and most prestigious events to be held in the district in recent years.
"It provided first-class entertainment and attracted many thousands of people to our city for the weekend. A number of local businesses also took the opportunity to showcase their produce.
"Verulamium Park offered the organisers a fabulous, historic setting and they made arrangements to deal with issues like car parking provision and noise.
"As they may well want to return, we would like feedback from residents and organisations about whether they feel that would be a good idea. All the people I've spoken to say it is, but I would like that confirmed."
Cllr Mandy McNeil, Portfolio Holder for Business, Culture and Tourism, who has responsibility for overseeing events, added: "I worked at Pub in the Park over the weekend manning our St Albans Food and Drink Festival booth, promoting upcoming events in St Albans such as Time-Turn and the Food and Drink Festival to visitors.
"This fantastic event showcased St Albans to residents and also to visitors and I spoke to many people from Hatfield, Hertford, Hemel Hempstead, Abbots Langley, Milton Keynes, London and other places. They were keen to learn of the exciting events St Albans has to offer with the feedback being that they will come back to Enjoy St Albans.
"I would like to give a special thanks to the council's events team for their work behind the scenes to help this happen. Also thank you to the many local independent businesses and residents who came together with Save St Albans Pubs earlier this year to support the event.
"It gave our local economy a tremendous boost by attracting so many people to the city centre, spending money in our pubs, restaurants and shops as well as attending Pub in the Park where our local businesses such as Thompson, Dylans and several of our own St Albans Market traders, including Yvette's Chocolate, were showcased.
"We want to hear from residents and businesses about what they thought of the event and whether they agree with my own impression that it was a raging success."
Anyone who wants to give their views should email: email@example.com