A free new event for the North East, celebrating food and drink, comes to South Shields this weekend.

The Great North Feast takes place in Bents Park over the Bank Holiday weekend.  It is being organised by the team behind the highly successful Proper Food and Drink festivals which have visited six towns – including South Shields – over the summer.

“We’ve had a great few months welcoming thousands and thousands of people to our events,” said Mark Deakin who – with his wife Shelley – launched the Proper Food and Drink Festivals five years ago.  They also run the North East Chilli Fest. “For the last festival of the summer we’ve decided to do something a bit bigger and a bit different,” said Shelley.

“It’s a chance to celebrate and enjoy all the fantastic food and drink produced in the North East and, above all, we want people to have fun.”

At the Great North Feast you can Get into the Spirit in a VIP area featuring drinks made in the North.  Presented by Savour Magazine, guests are invited to try their favourite tipple: gin, rum, whisky, vodka, cocktails or the new noveltea – a blend of the finest teas and spirits. Entrance to Get into the Spirit costs £6, which includes a free drink.

There will be street food to suit every taste, bars, a producer market, live music and food challenges. The Great North Feast has also been chosen to host the regional heats and final of the 2017 UK Chilli Cook-Off Championship.

The winner is guaranteed a place in the World Chilli Championship in Alabama, where $35,000 of prize money is on offer. The top three at South Shields will win up to £150 in cash and they will all go forward to compete in the UK’s Grand Final in September.

Teams will have four hours to cook from scratch a gallon of their finest chilli.  It will be judged on appearance, aroma, consistency, taste and aftertaste.   It costs £10 to enter a team and there is no limit on the number of team members.

“Whether you are a student or in your 70s, everybody thinks their chilli is the best – and now it’s your time to prove it,” said Mark Deakin.

The Great North Feast is open from 10am to 6pm from Saturday 26 August to Bank Holiday Monday, the 28th at Bents Park.  Entrance is free.

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