On a cloudy yet humid Saturday morning, a busy Preston street is closed down for the day with tents, tables and Union Jack bunting strategically placed along the road. No it’s not over keen royalists, but the start of another popular tri-annual event that brings the old Mill town to a standstill.
Preston became home to some of Lancashire’s finest local produce ranging from meat to chocolate and jewellery to fine wine and real ale. So, armed with my notepad, camera and trusty video blogger, Jessica Hyett, we took to the streets in search of some quality produce.
All the way down Friargate were numerous stalls and tents selling their products to the thousands of passer bys; many of which were giving away free samples.
We chatted to Mark Whittle, Marketing and Events Manager for Lancashire Market who said: “The idea of Lancashire Market is to bring people into the city not only to try the excellent local goods but for business improvement in the area.”
Most permanent shops in Friagate had their own stall in front of their doors, including the newly opened Fair-trade coffee shop, Beautiful Planet.
It’s a cute, friendly café where environment and fair-trading is right at the heart of their business. The volunteer run business is non-profit and has a small meeting room upstairs open for the community to hire on evenings and weekends.
Smokehouse, a Smoked Kippers company based in Glasson Docks is a 40 year old business doing demonstrations all around the country. They were displaying their impressive smoking shelters fitted with hundreds of smoked kippers and fresh batches to try.
Traditional Black Pudding were also on the menu where I bumped into Cllr Bill Tyson, sampling the Lancashire favourite. He said, “It’s good that we have proper Lancashire Markets” and quite right he is.
Walking round the stalls, family activities, street entertainment and band stand provided by Guild Hall Productions, we couldn’t help but notice how friendly everyone was.
Not only were the stall owners approachable and welcoming, but the customers (all 36,000 of them!) were laughing, smiling and generally having a good time.
I guess in tough financial times, we all need a good pick-me-up. So a place to celebrate local talent, eat great food and to feel like a community, Lancashire Market is the place to be. See you at the next one!