GEAR up for a weekend of fun and food at Herrington Country Park next month.
The beauty spot is staging a host of events over the weekend of June 15 to 17, to herald the arrival of the Olympic flame to Wearside.
Highlights of the Sunderland Festival will include an outdoor film screening, live music from brass and jazz bands and a traditional-style miners’ picnic on Father’s Day.
On June 16, the park will form the backdrop for the famous Olympic torch’s relay through the city.
Further music, entertainment and sporting events will take place throughout Wearside as part of the Sunderland Festival, including a dragon boat race led by the Rotary Club.
“This is going to be a huge event for Sunderland,” said Councillor John Kelly, cabinet member for culture.
“We have listened to what people have asked for and built the programme around that.
“We start with the outdoor screening on the Friday.
“The first of these screenings last year which was Grease was hugely popular.
“It’s an event to bring families together and provide something for the whole family to get involved in.”
The Sunderland Festival will also incorporate the Split Feastival, a three-day celebration of gastronomic delights in the shadow of Penshaw Monument.
Mouths will be watering for everything from Tibetan and Thai tastes to Caribbean cuisine, strawberries and sushi.
Masterchef 2011 finalist Jackie Kearney will be among the chefs cooking up a storm at the event, when she whips up Indonesian and Malay street food.
“I can’t wait for Split’s Sunderland Festival,” she told the Echo.
“There are a lot of great chefs there, and I’m particularly looking forward to checking out the Tibetan kitchen.”
Fellow stallholder David Gill, of Juniper’s Pantry in Barnes, will focus on foods sourced closer to home.
David, who in his past career as a restaurant chef has cooked for Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton, said: “People coming to our stall can expect wholesome food that’s cooked by people in the local area with local produce.
“It’s a Sunderland festival, so Sunderland food should be part of it as much as possible.
“We’ll be selling pork belly, beef dips, roast lamb shoulder, scotch eggs with runny yolks and more.”
The Split Feastival is a spin-off from the hugely successful food tent at last year’s Split music festival, at Ashbrooke Sports Ground.
Seeing people’s hunger for good grub, organisers including The Futureheads teamed up with the city council for this year’s Split Feastival.