The ever popular Proper Food and Drink Festival returns to South Shields later this month.

There will be around 60 stalls in Bents Park – featuring the best artisan produce – a range of food outlets to cater for all tastes, bars and entertainment. Entrance is free.

The festival takes place over the Bank Holiday weekend (27-29 May) and is the fourth time it has visited South Shields.

The Proper Food and Drink Festivals are organised by Mark and Shelley Deakin and this year, because of the popularity of the events, they have added Blyth and Gateshead to the calendar.

The couple also run the North East Chilli Fest – which attracts visitors from all over the country – and over the August Bank Holiday weekend they are launching the first Great North Feast, which will also be held in Bents Park.

“It’s a perfect location and we know people will love both events in South Shields,” said Mark.

“They’re great days out for the whole family.  Although they showcase fantastic locally produced food and drink, they’re also a lot of fun – whether or not you’re a serious foodie.”

The Great North Feast, for example, is going to feature numerous food-related record-breaking attempts and plays host to one of eight nationwide heats of the 2017 UK Chilli Cook-Off Championship, where teams of chefs will battle it out to cook the best chilli in the North East. Cash prizes are on offer, as well as places in the UK Grand Final and – for the Great North Feast winner – an invitation to the World Chilli Championship in Alabama.

This year’s series of Proper Food and Drink Festivals kicked off in North Shields and attracted a record number of visitors.

“There was a great selection of producers – who have become really popular through the festivals – as well as some new ones.  We’ll be bringing the same mix to South Shields in May,” said Shelley Deakin. “That’s what we love about the Proper Food and Drink Festival: the recipe’s right and we’re able to add a few different ingredients to keep it nice and fresh.”

After South Shields, the Proper Food and Drink Festival visits Whitley Bay on 17 and 18 June, before heading to Cramlington on 29 and 30 July.  Gateshead’s Saltwell Park stages the event for the first time on 5 and 6 August before it makes its debut in Ridley Park in Blyth the following weekend.

The North East Chilli Fest runs for three days – from 30 June to 2 July – and, after five highly successful years at Seaton Delaval Hall, is moving to a new and bigger site in nearby Seaton Sluice. The Great North Feast and will run from 25 to 28 August in Bents Park, South Shields.