Thousands visit Highcliffe Food and Arts Festival 2024

Images: Andy Martin

THOUSANDS of people flocked to the Highcliffe Food and Arts Festival at the weekend, giving a big boost to stallholders, local businesses and the community.

The high street was closed to traffic for the two days as around 80 food stalls lined it from one end to the other, filling the air with aromas – from all over the world and much nearer to home.

As ever, traders came from as far away as the north east and north west to take part in a weekend that for the most part was blessed with sunshine.

Meanwhile the recreation ground was crammed with arts and crafts, a full programme of musical performances, dance, fitness classes and children’s activities with a dedicated Kids Zone.

Entertainment on the two stages featured Swing Unlimited, the Fifinellas, Changing Colours Jazz Orchestra, Christchurch and District Band, Highcliffe Charity Players and numerous other groups and individual artistes.

A series of cookery demonstrations by top chefs took place throughout both days, including ‘local legends’ Alex Aitken, Bradley Green, Lesley Waters and Colin Nash.

Festival chair, Tina Jaffray, said: “There is always such a brilliant vibe at our festival and it really was extra special this year.

“Everyone tells us it’s the friendliest festival they come to and it’s a fantastic, unique, community event.”

Nadine Frost, owner of Tides coffee shop, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant to welcome so many people to Highcliffe for such a great occasion. We are really proud to be a sponsor.

“A huge thank you to everyone who has made this possible.”