Steyning a buzz with Festival Fun

Since the beginning of September Steyning & District has been enjoying special offers and events within local businesses to celebrate the Festival.

All the events have been superb, with some selling out in advance of the official Festival start date, which included the Wiston House Garden Tour & Wiston Winery Sparkling Wine Tasting, the Artisan Bakehouse Mad Hatters Tea Party and their Pizza & Pud Supper, the Ashurst Tasty Walk and the Chestnut Tree House Coffee & Cake Morning.

The coffee morning was hosted by Springwells with all cakes donated by volunteers and local tea rooms Cobblestone Tea House, Steyning Tea Rooms & Victoria’s Sponge and coffee donated by Black Rock Coffee - a real happy occasion raising a great donation for the charity.

The Mulled Wine & Star Gazing evening is always popular, held at the Star Inn and run by Worthing Astronomers, and this year guests actually got to see the stars as well as enjoying wine, as the skies were beautifully clear for the evening viewing!

The Beer Festival welcomed beer – and cider - lovers and a first for this year, the Instagram Cake Decorating Challenge held at the Steyning Downlands Scheme Big Picnic took centre stage – both events wonderful fun and a great success.

A regular, much anticipated feature of our Festival, the Author Dinner at The Sussex Produce Cafe, saw local entrepreneur Camilla Stephens, founder of Higgidy Pies, join guests to enjoy a delicious supper, followed by an fascinating conversation with Steyning Bookshop about her career to date, and her new book The Veggie Cookbook. A delightful, entertaining evening with an interesting and charming lady. Just a smattering of all the wonderful events, but no room for all of them!

Competitions were also well in evidence during the 4 weeks. On the first day of the Festival the High Street judging of the Food Theme Shop Window Competition took place, judged by local chocolatier, Sarah Payne from Cocoa Loco. Fantastic creations from one and all within the two categories – Foodie shops and non-foodie.

The winner of the Foodie windows was Cobblestone Tea House with their Alice in Wonderland Tea Party theme; Second was Truffles – a Teddy Bear’s Picnic, complete with a woodland setting backcloth; and third The Sussex Produce Company with their glorious Vegetable Heaven display.

Winner of the Non-Foodie section was Gris & Blanc – their window being put over to a shellfish and fruit fantasy; second was Steyning Antiques with a prestigious champagne scene featuring Dom Perignon and third The Dolls House with a miniature creation of close-by café colleague, Victoria’s Sponge.

On the same day, the prize giving for the Allotment Competition took place at the buzzing Farmers Market. Charles Ashby, Chair of the Steyning Horticultural, presented first prize to Stephen Nightingale; second prize to David Wells and third spot to Alison Brown.

The Great Steyning Bake Off saw 6 Open classes taking place, all judged by local food experts Les Nicholson (The Artisan Bakehouse), Eddie Woodward (Cobblestone Walk) and Laure Moyle (Pudding Fairy). Child Baker Winner went to Luke Gregory, who also won Best Pastry. A Star Baker was chosen from winners of all the classes, and this coveted award went to Laura Hayes. Laura’s cupcake recipe will now be replicated and sold at the Cobblestone Tea House

In the final week, the Farmers Market on Saturday 5th October brought the event to a close. The annual Pumpkin Weigh also took place as well as a Bumper Foodie Hamper Raffle (all content donated by the stallholders) for our Festival Charity, The Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice.

There was also a much enjoyed Sloe Gin Making demo, plus tastings! Not forgetting, of course, all the superb local produce stalls and some special Festival offers available. A great morning out.

During the food and drink celebrations, Charity Dishes at local eateries were on offer and if chosen, a donation went to the Festival charity - 'Eat & Donate' was the by-word!

One event held, a Jumble Sale at Steyning Primary School Hall on 12th October, was outside of our official dates, due to a hold-up, is still to be reported on and will be a further addition to be collected for our charity. The grand total from all our Chestnut Tree occasions will be available once everything is counted up!

 A fun time – we were sorry to see it all come to an end – but there is always next time!
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