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Food festival brings in £6m to Hampshire economy
5:04pm Friday 26th October 2012 in News
AN annual month-long celebration of the best of locally produced food and drink in Hampshire brought a £6m boost to the rural economy this year, latest figures reveal.
Visitor numbers to the July festival defied the recession and rose by a third to more than 295,000.
They spent an estimated £5.97m, or £23 per person compared to £19 last year.
The figures came from research undertaken by county food group Hampshire Fare, which organises the festival and gets feedback from individual festival event organisers and visitors.
Hampshire Fare said the rise in visitor numbers and spending reflected further growth in interest in farming and local produce.
The festival, now in its 21st year, was backed by Hampshire County Council and the Daily Echo.
More than 70 events were held throughout the festival, which were hosted by 64 businesses and organisations ranging from farms, restaurants, pubs and hotels, to libraries, town centres, country shows, vineyards, breweries and independent stores.
Headline chefs at this year's festival included included TV wine expert Olly Smith and vegetarian food writer Rose Elliot.
Olly said: "It was fantastic to see so much activity across the whole county celebrating what's best about Hampshire Fare.
"I can't wait until next year's festival and salute everyone who took part this year. Three cheers for Hampshire!"
The research revealed that visitors most enjoyed tasting local food and drink, supporting Hampshire food and drink businesses, meeting local producers, and discovering new places to eat in the county.
Next year's Hampshire Food Festival will run July 1 to 31.