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There's good and bad news for North Devon's foodies, as the district's biggest food festival is cancelled, but hopes to return next year with an event as successful and popular as ever. 

The annual North Devon Foodfest, organised by Barnstaple Town Centre Management, with support from North Devon Council, was due to take place in October at the Barnstaple Pannier Market. This year would have been the event's 13th year, but a decision has been taken to cancel it over concerns about maintaining social distancing and the risk of spreading COVID-19. 

Councillor Malcolm Prowse, lead member for Economic Development and Regeneration at North Devon Council says: "We are naturally disappointed to have had to cancel Foodfest this year and we understand our residents will feel the same way. FOODfest is well known in the area for the high quality local artisan food businesses showcasing their wares under one roof and it's one of the foodie highlights of our year.

"While it's a shame that we won't get to sample the gastronomic treats we usually enjoy at FOODfest in October, we need to put public safety first, so it's the right decision to cancel it this year. In brighter news, we hope to come back bigger and better in 2021, with the best chefs and food businesses in our region making an appearance. We are also delighted to see that so many of our brilliant local food businesses have been able to take advantage of the government's 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme to give them a boost after the challenges of lockdown. 

"We would like to thank the sponsors of the event, Rangemoors and Ashgrove Kitchens. They usually provide the kitchen and set up for the chef’s stage for us at FOODfest. We hope to see them again next year."

To add to the support offered to businesses by central government, North Devon Council, with the backing of the Barnstaple Town Centre Management, has launched its 'Live Love Local' campaign. Live Love Local celebrates North Devon's businesses and encourages residents to shop, eat and buy local; and do so safely.

Local businesses and residents are being asked to support the 'Live Love Local' campaign by 'liking' the dedicated Facebook and Instagram page (@livelovelocalnorthdevon) and using the hashtags #LiveLoveLocal and #EnjoySafely on any social media posts about local businesses. The council says the campaign has some exciting initiatives in the pipeline for businesses and residents alike and is calling on residents to continue supporting North Devon's businesses in the way they did throughout lockdown to aid the local economy's recovery.

The government's 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme gives diners the opportunity to enjoy 50% off their meals at participating restaurants throughout August.

More information on the 'Live Love Local' campaign and advice for reopening businesses is available on the council's website