A Staffordshire Moorlands market town will be the venue for a large scale food and drink festival this weekend.
Leek's first food and drink festival is being held over Saturday (March 15) and Sunday (March 16).
Held on the weekend of Leek's monthly fine food market and it is set to feature more than 70 food stalls with a strong emphasis on local food and drink producers.
The festival will be held across the town centre including the historic market place and streets of the town.
Events throughout the weekend are set to include: Titanic Brewery and Slightly Foxed Totally Locally Beer Swap in the beer tent; Sausage Trail; Foods of the world local restaurants map with special offers, tastings and events; Foodie talks; Cookery demonstrations from top local and celebrity chefs; Foodie films; and Community start up stalls – 'Could you taste the next big thing?'.
Organised by the award winning Totally Locally Sunday Supplement team, visitors can be assured of an event with the same great atmosphere and mix of characterful stalls, music, drink and the warm welcome that Leek has become renowned for.
Co-organiser Marc Briand from Totally Locally Leek said: "With Leek's recent successes, winning the Action for Market towns award for the Sunday Supplement and being joint runner up in the Telegraph's high street of the year campaign, it is a fantastic opportunity to finally realise the potential that Leek has to put on larger, annual events in addition to the existing markets.
"Thanks to generous sponsorship from Taste of Staffordshire, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Leek Town Council we can now put on events that will be great for the residents of Leek and attract visitors to what we hope will become an annual event.
"In the spirit of Totally Locally we will be showcasing many of the great local food and drink producers alongside smaller national speciality firms.
"With the foodie trails around the local cafes and restaurants in the day and special offers in the evening along with Leek's real ale trail visitors are in for a real treat in Leek."
Graeme Whitehead, Group Manager for Tourism and Marketing at Taste of Staffordshire said: "The festival will highlight the exceptional quality of food and drink that is being produced in Staffordshire.
"It will also be a great weekend to explore a hidden gem in Staffordshire, while indulging in all the festivals food and drink treats.
"With the opportunity to taste some of the finest sausages on the sausage trail, to savouring locally brewed ales in the evening on Leek's real ale trail, we certainly hope this will turn into an annual highlight on the Staffordshire event calendar."
All of the talks and demonstrations will be held in the 'Festival Cookery Theatre' in the marquee at the back of the Roebuck in Derby Street.
The cookery theatre comes with a full compliment of facilities including radio mic's, television screens, HD colour live cameras, HQ surround sound and back stage prep facilities and lighting.
The talks are varied from fairtrade to beer.
The Titanic Brewery pub of The Roebuck will be running a Beer Festival over weekend starting at 5pm on Friday and running through Saturday and Sunday.
On Sunday evening there will be live music at The Roebuck as part of the beer festival, from Crawlin' from the Wreckage and carrying on into St Patrick's Day on Monday with the Sub Zero Busking Club in the evening.
Other live music on offer as part of the festival will include: Stev and JR at The Quiet Woman, St Edward Street, on Saturday evening; while Dan and Sarah will be at The Cock Inn, Derby Street, on the same evening.
Dan Engel's in Stanley Street will also be hosting a beer festival - of the Belgium kind.
The Cottage Delight sponsored Sausage Trail will take place on Saturday.
Starting in the Market Place, participants can pick up a scoring card and map for £1, before following the trail, winding your way through the town and stalls, including the local town butchers, stall holders and even the odd pub or two; sampling and scoring the varied sausages.
Once participants have completed the Sausage Trail, they are invited to return to the Market Place to hand in their completed cards. The winning 'Festival Sausage' will be announced in the festival marquee at the Roebuck at 4pm.
Leek's Food and Drink Festival will be spread throughout the town with stalls in the Market Place (as part of the regular monthly Fine Food Market), the flagstones and bottom of Market Place.
There will also be hot food vendors along Derby Street and more stalls in Sparrow Park.
As you would expect from a food and drink festival there will be many stalls in Leek town centre selling a wide range of food items from cheeses, meats, chutneys, and pickles, to oils, sauces, sweet and savoury treats.
There will also be more exotic choices such as Ostrich burgers and Thai curry pie.
For further information about Leek's Food and Drink Festival 2014, go to the event website at www.leekfoodanddrink.co.uk.