Traders across County Durham and beyond are counting down to the return of next month’s Seaham Food Festival.

The free Durham County Council event, which is taking place on Saturday 7 and Sunday, 8 August, marks a welcome return of festivals and events following the coronavirus pandemic.

The festival is set to play a key role in the council’s commitment to cultural-led regeneration and, with 15,000 people having attended the inaugural festival in 2019, it will provide a huge boost to local traders and businesses in the area.

It is one of a number of cultural events on offer across County Durham as the council makes a county-wide bid for UK City of Culture 2025, which would provide a major boost for the whole region.

Around 100 traders and local producers will be lined up along Terrace Green, offering a host of tasty treats and mouth-watering dishes to suit everyone’s tastes. Traders are also looking forward to a welcome boost to business, with excitement building ahead of the event.

David Richardson, of The Canny Candy Gadgies, runs a handmade confectionary business in Seaham, using traditional recipes that have been passed down from previous generations to make delicious fudge, brittle and honeycomb. David loved trading in his hometown during the first festival but believes Seaham Food Festival 2021 will be even more special.

David said: “Meeting the public and explaining our products is such an important part of our business and food festivals are key in helping us to reach more people. We really missed having that connection last year so I cannot wait to start meeting visitors along the seafront again in a few weeks.

“It makes it even more special to be a part of such a brilliant event in your hometown, particularly when you see it bringing the community together and boosting businesses across the town. It’s not just about traders but everyone in the community and after the difficult year that we have all had, it will be wonderful to see so many people enjoying what the town has to offer.”

For those spending a summer closer to home this year, the festival is set to provide the perfect opportunity to experience worldwide flavours. Alpine 21 will be bringing a taste of the Alps to Seaham, Indian street food will be on offer from Mivesi and Fire and Dough are featuring stone-baked pizzas.

Visitors will also be able to take home delicious goods from Breaking Bread, gooey bakes from the Brownie Bar, handmade pickles, chutneys and chilli sauces as well as a range of cocktails, cheeses, chocolate and even herbs and spice kits.

Liza Johnson, of Discovering Durham in the Prince Bishop centre in Durham City, has created a hub in the centre of the city selling produce from a range of local producers. She has supported traders such as Durham Coffee to attend the festival and will be running the Tea Enthusiasts stand herself. Liza is delighted that the festival is able to go ahead this year.

“Food festivals provide such a unique opportunity for us to reach our customers, connecting them to food and drink that is produced in their local area,” explains Liza. “We can educate, inform and entertain while helping our business to grow; it is the best of both worlds.

“Once a customer connects to a producer, they begin to value the hard work, passion and expertise involved in getting food or drink products to market. Food and drink is the most primitive form of comfort and community so what better way for us all to reconnect in 2021.”

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We are delighted that Seaham Food Festival is going to be provide some much needed support to our independent traders, as well as local businesses, following a difficult 18 months. It is going to be a wonderful weekend for everyone involved all those visiting.”

For a full list of traders and the latest information of Seaham Food Festival, visit www.seahamfoodfestival.co.uk and follow @SeahamFoodFest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.