Bumper crowds take part in first Feast by the Sea

Organisers of Whitley Bay’s new celebration of street food estimate a bumper crowd of around 20,000 people took part in the first of three Feasts by the Sea.

The free event, which attracted people of all ages and many families, was held at the Spanish City Plaza over the weekend and returns on 10 and 11 August and 7 and 8 September.Photos by Max Cooper | fb.com/maxcooperphotography

Visitors – both local residents and the many who travelled to the coast – were treated to tastes from all over the world, as well as craft beers and ciders, cocktails and loads of live music, with more than a dozen singers performing over the two days.

Feast by the Sea is the brainchild of Mark and Shelley Deakin – who are behind the highly successful Proper Food and Drink Festivals – and Nigel Holliday, who has organised some of the North East’s most successful pop up food events.  “You are always a little bit anxious about a new idea and the weather on Saturday wasn’t great, but it didn’t spoil a thing,” said Nigel. “It’s is a great location.  We  were so pleased to welcome such a large number of visitors and everybody providing the fantastic food and drink did a wonderful job.”

Shelley Deakin said many people from outside North Tyneside also took time to walk on the beach and explore Spanish City and the town.

“It was a good weekend for the local shops and they can’t wait for the next Feast,” she said.

Rows of street trucks served up food from South Korea, the Middle East, Germany, Italy, the United States and India.

There was also fish and chips and – from Teesside – Parm-O-Rama. Its creator Johnny Hesketh is on a mission to spread the enjoyment of Middlesbrough’s famous Parmos throughout the UK.

Ryan McVay launched The Calabash Tree after attending a world food event which to his disappointment did not include anything from the Caribbean. Helped by his family, his business has gone from strength-to-strength and had a sell-out weekend at the first Feast.A family affair for the Calabash Tree. Ryan McVay (centre) with his aunt Aylia (left) and mum Estephanie

“My mum’s from Trinidad and it’s the food I grew up on. I started making it for friends and work collegues and they said I should sell it,” said the 41-year-old from Washington.

He learned to cook the hard way. “I’ve always eaten well until I moved out and got my own place and realised good food just doesn’t appear on your plate,” said Ryan.

As well as being inspired by his mum Estephanie’s recipes, Ryan’s dad was a chef and has come out of retirement to support his son.

The Calabash Tree will be back at September’s Feast by the Sea which – amongst other things – will stage a Street Food Battle.

Photos by Max Cooper | fb.com/maxcooperphotography

As well as providing a taste of the UK’s finest street food, the theme of the August weekend is Vintage Seaside Revival.  It will feature a vintage record store, a vintage sweatshirt stall and vintage clothing and jewellery.  There will also be vintage fairground rides and sideshow games.