Christmas festival cancelled but celebrity chef backs a bigger return

3 minute read
Christmas festival cancelled but celebrity chef backs a bigger return

Published at 3:43pm 23rd June 2020.

Celebrity chef Paul Ainsworth has backed a cancelled Cornish Christmas festival to come back stronger than ever in 2021.

Despite being six months away, the Padstow event was ruled out by organisers who said it takes months of planning.

The organising committee said uncertainty over social distancing measures was to blame as it put the safety of  residents, volunteers, visitors, chefs, suppliers, and stallholders first.

But Padstow-based celebrity chef Paul Ainsworth said he was sad but confident it would come back better than ever.

“The festival has become a wonderful annual, pre-Christmas event that the Ainsworth family team has always enjoyed being a part of," he said.

"There’s always a wonderfully festive atmosphere, with great food to buy from our local producers, and talented chefs from around the country sharing their craft.

"The whole of Padstow gets behind it and welcomes people from all over the country to sample the best that Cornwall can provide. While I’m sad that this year the festival is cancelled, I know it’ll come back stronger in 2021, and the Ainsworth family will be there to support it. Stay safe, and see you next year."

The dates for next year’s festival have been provisionally agreed with Padstow Harbour Commissioners, and will take place from Thursday, December 2 to Sunday, December 5, 2021.

Paul Ainsworth

Festival organiser Tina Evans said: "It is with heavy hearts that the committee and I have to announce the cancellation of this year’s Padstow Christmas Festival, which was due to take place from Thursday 3 to Sunday 6 December 2020.

"This has not been an easy decision to make, and we would like to thank everyone involved in the festival for their unwavering support.

"The festival is a highlight in the South West’s event calendar for so many people, bringing thousands of visitors to our town during the winter season - and whilst we know the cancellation of this year’s festival is very disappointing, the safety of our local residents, volunteers, visitors, chefs, suppliers, and stallholders is our main priority.

"It takes months of planning to organise and deliver an event of this scale, and the uncertainty around social distancing measures, and whether it will be possible to stage large gatherings, mean it is not possible for the event to go ahead this year.

"We will look forward to welcoming everyone back to Padstow again for next year’s festival."

The festival’s lead sponsor, Sharp’s Brewery, said: “As longstanding lead sponsors of the Padstow Christmas Festival, we are of course saddened that the event will not be able to go ahead this year. We are, however, fully supportive of the organisers’ decision to cancel the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival really is one of the highlights of our events calendar, and we are very much looking forward to returning in the future, bringing our usual passion for beer and food to the harbourside at Padstow.”


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