The Stadium of Light was the dream destination for Wearside’s foodies today - and there’s more to come tomorrow.
Sunderland Summer Foodfest saw the car park outside the stadium’s main entrance taken over by dozens of street food vendors and artisan producers, as well as playing host to a crop of unsigned bands and musicians and family funfair rides.
Visitors were able to sample foods from around the world, as well as regional delicacies, from traditional American barbecue to dainty home-made cupcakes.
The event was delivered by Pumpkin Patch Events, which lays on events at venues across the region, and manager Craig Hopper explained it had been a case of bowing to popular demand.
“We have been doing smaller events for a couple of years now - craft fairs, Christmas markets, wedding fairs and the like,” he said.
“We were getting a lot of the hot food traders saying ‘Can we come along and be a part of this?’
You might as well do something worthwhile with this much space while the football season is not under way.Craig Hooper
“But a lot of the smaller venues we work with want to do the catering themselves, which you can’t really blame them for.”
Craig explained the idea for the food festival had been born while visiting the Stadium of Light on separate business.
“We are actually doing a Christmas market here at the Stadium in December,” he said.
“We came here for a meeting and I looked down over the car park and realised this would be the ideal place to stage an event.
“You might as well do something worthwhile with this much space while the football season is not under way.”
Craig has been promoting the event on social media and is delighted with the reception if has had from members of the public.
“We have got about 4,000 followers for it on the Facebook page,” he said.
“Hopefully there is something here for everyone, no matter what kind of food they like.”