It was a soggy start to this year’s Rhubarb Festival but with promise of milder (and drier) weather, the crowds slowly began to gather for the first morning of the annual three-day event.
Kicking-off at 10am, and with a bit of drizzle still lingering, the marquee on the Bullring became the obvious destination for many as the first demonstration of the day got underway with celebrity chef Rachel Green giving a cookery class on the diversity of the pink vegetable, cooking a fantastic-tasting rhubarb and lentil curry.
It was the first of three demonstrations she had planned today and said: “It’s an incredible place that produces all of this wonderful rhubarb, it’s an exciting and beautiful ingredient.
“There’s nowhere else like this. Well done for Wakefield Council for putting on this festival.”
With all of the temporary wooden stalls on Northgate and Kirkgate occupied, it was chance for the plenty of revellers that had gathered to sample and buy any number of tasty treats, including of course, the vegetable of the moment, rhubarb.
And it appeared to be what customers were craving, especially at the stall run by Ossett’s beer shop, Bier Huis.
Bottles of rhubarb-flavoured beer, ‘Rhubar’, brewed by Yorkshire Heart, seemed to be the obvious choice for most.
Shop owner, David Jones, said: “It’s very busy, much busier than usual, I think the festival’s becoming more popular.
“People are really liking the rhubarb beers and gin and we’ve already sold out of the rhubarb cider.”
For others, it was their first taste of the annual event.
Niall McKay-Mount, of County Durham-based company, Screaming Chimp Chilli Sauce, said: “It’s the first time we’ve been to Wakefield, and there’s some great characters about, it’s just a nice atmosphere.
“We only started the company in June and we only found out that we were coming here about a month ago.
“It’s going alright but we’re expecting it to be even busier tomorrow.”
Indeed, TV star and Michelin award-winning celebrity chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli is expected to wow the crowds in the Bullring marquee tomorrow, Saturday, with two demonstrations at 12.30pm and 2.30pm.
Thre will also plenty more street entertainment and a chance to try and buy more rhubarb-flavoured treats.