Shetland Food Fair is to nearly double in size this year as it celebrates locally produced food and drink.
Marian Armitage chairwoman of the Shetland Food and Drink Association said it was scaling up this year’s event following interest from new exhibitors and Shetland folk generally.
The award-winning Shetland Food and Cooking author, said interest is growing in Shetland produce, with “several groups of folk starting up peerie new businesses” including Thule Ventus saltfish.
“I think there’s this general feeling that success feeds success,” she said.
“When folk are seen to be getting their stuff out there into the market maybe more folk think about doing things themselves.”
Scoop Wholefoods was now selling a wide range of Shetland produce she added, while Blydoit and McNabs had two shops apiece in the isles and Shetland food was on the menu when folk were eating out.
Mrs Armitage said organisers of the food fair were extremely grateful to the sponsors this year, with a raft of major companies backing the event.
NorthLink Ferries is returning as sponsor of the opening night which this year will be on 28th October.
The event runs for three days, with Seafood Shetland, Scottish Salmon Shetland and Cooke Aquaculture involved.
“It’s much, much bigger [this year],” Mrs Armitage said.
“We’re using the whole Clickimin… including the bowls hall.”
Committee member Ruth Henderson and chief executive of Seafood Shetland had worked hard to involve the fish industry in this year’s fair, Mrs Armitage said.
Music, demonstrations and activities with local school children is also planned over the course of the weekend, plus two top chefs coming up from the mainland.
Mrs Henderson, said: “Shetland’s seafood sector is the largest contributor to the isles’ economy, supplying farmed and wild fish and shellfish all over the world.
“As a key player in the Shetland food and drink industry, we are delighted to be a sponsor and an exhibitor at the fair. We’re proud to be supporting the growth of this important event, and are looking forward to celebrating the fantastic range of locally-produced food and drink which Shetland now offers.”
Mrs Armitage said: “It is a real compliment to the success of the food fair that such high-profile businesses are keen to become involved. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to grow the event this year with the much-valued support of all our sponsors.”
Treasurer of the Shetland Food and Drink Association Jill Franklin, said: “Last year’s event did a lot to remind people about the variety and range of food and drink Shetland produces.”
With seafood producers also onboard “it’s really great this year we’ve got everybody represented”.
Friday’s schedule starts at 6pm with a VIP opening reception. The public opening is at 7pm, featuring entertainment and special guests.
Weekend passes will be available from the end of this month from Scoop Wholefoods or on the door.
Ms Franklin said: “Last year a lot of people came on Friday, bought weekend passes and returned once, and some people even twice.
“Most people use it as an opportunity to get a sneak preview. It was very successful on the Friday.”