Over 2500 people headed out into the Surrey Hills on Saturday 3 September to attend the very first Surrey Hills Festival of Food and Drink at Coverwood Farm. For those who have followed CowParade, the world’s largest public art event it was pure heaven as all 64 cows were brought together for the very first time!
The sun shone for most of the day as people descended upon the picturesque farm in Ewhurst with spectacular gardens and lakes. A whole host of local suppliers and producers were keen to showcase their fantastic products. The Surrey County
Agricultural Society brought together a Farmers Market with lots on offer from cakes, pies, local meat, chutneys, jams, honey and much more. To add to the festival atmosphere music cascaded through the valley courtesy of a selection of bands from the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) in Guildford. Local tipples were a plenty with Haslemere based Blackdown Ridge Estate providing a selection of their Red, White, Rose and Sparkling wines and the ever popular artisan spirit producer, Silent Pool Distillers offered a selection of their products including their award winning Silent Pool Gin. Another award winning wine producer, Albury Organic Vineyard offered tastings of their delicious wines and the Crafty Brewing Company showcased their hand brewed beers and for novelty value the Tiger Lily Bus Company served cocktails and sparkling wine from a milk float!
For the foodies an imposing inflatable food theatre was situated in the centre of the site! Simon Taylor of Surrey Hills Butchers compered the entire day imparting his knowledge and expertise delivered with wit and style that kept everyone wanting more. Simon comments;
“I was delighted to take part in the very first Surrey Hills Festival of Food and Drink and really enjoyed overseeing the Food Theatre. I’m passionate about what I do and at Surrey Hills Butchers we consider ourselves very traditional but also very modern. We have plenty of experience and respect for this knife skill trade and know all about old school cuts; however we also understand that the culinary world moves daily. Our butchery is about careful selection, professional cutting and educating people on the meat they buy. It was great to tell people about this traditional art and I look forward to the next Surrey Hills Festival where I can do it all again!”
A host of demonstrations took place throughout the day including; a Milling workshop by Imbhams Farm, a Chicken Curry created by Surrey Spice, a selection of dishes created by BBC MasterChef finalist and local restaurateur Daniel Britten, Butchery demonstrations by Surrey Hills Butchers and talks by Silent Pool Distillers and Norbury Blue Cheese.
Local artists were on hand to showcase their talents and do workshops with children. From craft activities to caricature drawings there was something for everyone. The real spectacle of the day was the entire herd of CowParade Surrey cows which took centre stage. Each cow sponsored by a business and individually decorated by an artist was brought together as a herd for the public to see for the very first and last time. Over 52 charities will benefit from the sale of the cows which head to auction in the autumn. There was also the opportunity to see all the MiniMoos many of which had been decorated by Surrey Schools. Over 30 MiniMoos were dotted and hidden around the Coverwood Lake for families to discover – a delightful sight with the water lily filled lake as a back drop.
Vintage and state-of-the-art tractors adorned the site as well as the Vines BMW & MINI experience which provided a MINI Clubman container and lots of interactive fun for all including a BMW Race track with remote control cars!
Tim Metson, CowParade Leader and co-owner of Coverwood Farm comments; “It was wonderful to really celebrate CowParade Surrey by bringing together all the cows for the very first time. While the cows were out on Parade throughout Surrey and London we had over 4,500 app downloads and 21,288 check-ins! There has been so much interest and passion for our cows – it’s truly humbling to have engaged with so many people. I’m delighted that so many people turned out for the Festival of Food and Drink, the very first we have done and it was great to showcase our family farm – I hope this leads into a future of many more Surrey Hills events”.
The Festival also provided the opportunity to announce the winner of the CowParade Surrey app competition. A total of 88 people had managed to collect all the cows which were dotted across Surrey and London this summer. The first prize of a luxury holiday to Mauritius was kindly donated by Kuoni Travel. The winner of the holiday, Carl Harmer, is a Guildford based chef who works for Princess Alice Hospice, he comments; “I’m over the moooon, I have had a great time searching for all the cow’s in and around the Surrey Hills and have come across some amazing places to visit that are just on our doorstep. I have bumped into other cow spotters and chatted to other people enjoying the hunt. Camelia was the first cow I spotted on the roundabout in artington I then went on Google to try and find out what this is all about and found out about CowParadeSurrey. I spent a couple of great months finding all the awesome cow artwork. To top off a wonderful summer winning the trip to Mauritius (thank you forever Kuoni) is a dream holiday I have never thought would happen.”
Rachel O’Reilly, head of communications at Kuoni, comments: “This has been an art exhibition which has involved the whole community from schools to local businesses and has brought a splash of colour to daily life around Surrey. Having so many people out and about throughout the County seeing the cows and using the app has been fantastic and we’ve been thrilled with the response.”
Runner up prizes went to Kathryn Kelly who enjoyed finding the cows with her young daughter Sophie and won an overnight stay at The Stag on the River, Eashing, courtesy of Red Mist Leisure along with a third prize winner who will be enjoying an overnight stay at The DeVere Hotel, Horsley Park.
As the weather changes and autumn draws closer each cow will be heading off to be auctioned raising funds for many charities and the Surrey Hills Trust Fund. Two auctions will take place one in Surrey at Sandown Park on 20 October and one in London the ‘Gala’ auction at Hampton Court Palace on 17 November. The cows will be auctioned by Ewbank’s, the Premier International Antiques and Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers in Surrey and Hampshire who are able to take on-line bids prior to and during both events at www.ewbankauctions.co.uk.
Tim continues “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own your very own piece of art that can be situated either inside or outside. Each cow has been uniquely decorated, many by professional and up-and-coming artists. We were very fortunate to have acclaimed artists such as Peter Blake, Alexander Creswell, Minna George, Stuart Semple and more take part in CowParade Surrey and we are expecting lots of interest in these pieces – we urge anyone that is keen to register or bid early on as we know these cows will be very popular”.
CowParade Surrey and the Surrey Hills Festival of Food and Drink were organised by Surrey Hills Enterprises a not for profit Community Interest Company (CIC) that works with local businesses to build a brand for the Surrey Hills. Surrey Hills Enterprises offer a membership scheme to help promote the local economy and support enterprise.