A POPULAR food and drink festival will be returning to south Essex after proving a big hit last year.

The Billericay Food and Drink Festival will boast more than 50 stands offering everything from wine and pizzas, to ice cream and even face painting. 

A DJ will be on hand to provide a party atmopshere and a charity football match will also be staged during the event.

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The festival is organised by two sisters from the Great Ideas Events team, Jodi Knight, 57, and Abby Short 59.

Jodi said the team were excited to bring the event back again and hopes it will continue to return year-on-year.

She said: “We are so excited to be bringing the Billericay Food and Drink Festival back to the town.

“Working with the team at Billericay Town is a real dream.

“It is a real community event, and we think it will become a real fixture in the local festival calendar.

“It is also a great opportunity for local companies to promote themselves and grow their customer base, all while having a great time in the sun.”

The event is taking place at Billericay Town Football Club, in Blunts Wall Road, on Sunday, July 17, from 11am until 5pm.

The charity football match, sponsored by Stanton Hockett, will be held around 2.30pm and will help to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.

Jodi added:“Last year the festival attracted more than 1,500 guests.

"During the pandemic, so many businesses had to re-think and come up with new ways to sell and promote during a difficult time.

“This year, there are more than 50 stands coming together, offering a host of food, including artisan foods, and also drink stands.

“There will be stands offering a selection of imported wines, local selection of luxury cheeses, wood fire pizzas, ice cream van, outdoor living stand, brewers, face painting and so much more.

“This year with no restrictions in place, we can offer more stands, and more ideas, for everyone to have fun in the sun and support businesses.”

The first 250 visitors attending the event will win a free foodie goodie, and prizes will also be on offer throughout the day including meals out and picnic hampers.

Tickets are £5 to attend on the door, and £4.50 if bought in advance via Eventbrite, under 12s can attend free too.