No food traders from Kenilworth will be manning any of the 50-plus stalls at Sunday’s inaugural Kenilworth Food Festival, it has emerged.
The food festival, to be held along Warwick Road on Sunday July 23 and organised by Warwickshire company CJ’s Events, will instead feature traders from Leamington, Warwick, and other places.
In response to the lack of Kenilworth traders, a different food event is being held alongside the festival outside Pomeroy’s Bistro in Station Road from noon to 4pm.
Fish and chips will be served by Pomeroy’s, and a barbecue will be served up by Steve Crowe & Son Butchers. There will also be live music from folk band The Peas.
Paul Crowe of Steve Crowe & Son Butchers said: “It was a couple of weeks ago I noticed the festival had come up on my Facebook feed.
“I thought ‘never mind, I haven’t been invited’ and thought nothing of it.”
Paul was later contacted by Liddy and Helen Pomeroy, who run Pomeroy’s, asking him if he knew anything about the festival and if he received a letter inviting him to take part. He told them he had not.
Paul rang CJ’s Events asking if he could take part, but he said they told him it was too late.
So Paul, Liddy and Helen decided to organise something on their own.
Helen said: “We thought, sod it, we’re having our own street party. We never got notified, but we’d have liked to have been a part of it.
“Paul keeps us in the loop about these things, so if Paul doesn’t know about it, that’s bad.”
Paul added: “The food festival’s in Kenilworth, but there’s no Kenilworth traders. So it’s not Kenilworth Food Festival, it’s CJ’s Food Festival.
“If I’d have known about seven weeks ago I’d have done a proper stall and showcased my produce.
“At the end of the day, if it’s advertised as Kenilworth Food Festival it should have Kenilworth food traders. We should have first refusal.”
Jamie Walker of CJ’s Events, who also run food festivals in Warwick and Bromsgrove, explained emails had been sent to potential traders in November and December of 2016, which he insisted was the usual procedure for inviting traders to participate.
He said the company was unable to get hold of many of the traders’ managers at the time.
When it was put to him the name ‘Kenilworth Food Festival’ was misleading, Jamie said: “I wouldn’t say it’s misleading. The aim is to bring footfall into the town centre.
“We can’t force businesses to get involved, and we’re not refusing these businesses. Our business engagement has been carried out.
“We’ve run Warwick Food Festival for the last three years, and a lot of local businesses do get involved. In Kenilworth, we haven’t had as much local involvement.”
The Kenilworth Food Festival will run from 10am to 6pm. All Warwick District Council car parks in Kenilworth will be free to park in.