In the wake of the inaugural Axminster Gate to Plate festival, participants and attendees have raved at its incredible success.

The town played host to more than 65 food and drink producers earlier this month, complemented with a diverse entertainment programme.

East Devon District Council funded the festival, with organisational support from Award-winning eat:Festivals, drawing over 7,000 visitors throughout the day.

The aim was to stimulate the local economy, directing increased footfall into the bustling town centre and promoting local businesses.

Emphasis was also given to introducing visitors to the region’s micro and small food and drink producers.

As a result of the event’s overwhelming success, plans are already underway for a repeat festival on May 27, 2024.

Midweek Herald: The aim of the festival was to stimulate the local economy, direct footfall into the town centre and promote local businessesThe aim of the festival was to stimulate the local economy, direct footfall into the town centre and promote local businesses (Image: eat:FESTIVALS)

Councillor Matt Hall, East Devon District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy, said: "What a fantastic event!

"Thanks to everyone who came along.

"Axminster was absolutely buzzing with so many visitors all around the town.

"We were delighted to sponsor Axminster’s first ever Gate to Plate event and we hope it is the first of many more.

"This event has put Axminster’s local growers, producers, and makers firmly on the foodie map."

Hall further highlighted how these festive gatherings facilitated local businesses to engage with consumers directly, with the long-term objective of fostering community support for these enterprises.

A spokesperson for Axminster Town Council voiced their satisfaction too, saying: "The Town Council was delighted to see so many visitors in the town for this inaugural Gate to Plate event and we were also grateful for the opportunity to promote the work of the Council as one of the many stallholders present on the day.

"We hope that everyone attending took away something special and will be coming back soon to Axminster to explore our shops, our cafes and all else that we have to offer."

Sarah Milner Simonds, head of sparkle at eat:Festivals, reflected on the success of the festival, saying: "It was a real pleasure curating this new festival in Axminster.

"There was lots of anecdotal feedback about people visiting Axminster for the first time and committing to return to explore more.

"We are looking forward to returning with even more great food & drink in 2024."