Easter street food festival Lincoln Castle

Chow Down travelling circus Easter street food festival in the grounds of Lincoln Castle.

A pleasant walk along Minster Yard running south side of Lincoln Cathedral.

People enjoying the sun on the grass on the east side outside the Chapter House.

Passed through a farmers market in Castle Hill, with a mental note to return later, but first the street food festival in the grounds of Lincoln Castle.

Long queue to get in, £3 entry fee for what is usually free access.

Inside packed.

Dogs are usually welcome in the Castle grounds. Not today. Not acceptable no dogs. No street food festival I have a visited has barred dogs. But then can usually access and walk through the Castle grounds for free.

£3 entry fee, £5 for French fries, £3-10 takeaway coffee.

Recently a new shed has been built at the West Gate. Usually manned. When queried why build a new shed which is no longer manned, told only manned when pay to gain access to Castle grounds.

West Gate closed for Chow Down which hits local businesses either side of Lincoln Castle. Something Bailgate Guild must raise.

A problem for disabled, and possibly illegal. A car park at The Lawn, a ramp for easy access. West Gate closed.

Claimed to be largest street food festival in the country. Not true.

Street food market in Lower Marsh, South Bank street food market, Godalming street food market, Street Food Picnic in a park in Guildford a couple of years ago, all much larger, all far better street food.

The burger at the Guildford Street Food Picnic, grilled on a charcoal grill, served with a side of new potatoes.

Claimed 25% of the offering being either vegetarian or vegan. I did not see a single vegetarian stall let alone a vegan stall.

Claimed craft beer breweries from across the UK will be attending so you can sample some of the finest beers the country has to offer – whether it be draught or in cans.

Really? Where were they?

A craft beer stall, but nothing to say what was on offer. Same true of the beer tent. What was really weird, what was being served behind a partition to block sight of what was being served.

Later I had an excellent local craft beer off the farmers market outside.

Chow Down yet another travelling circus. A couple of weeks ago, a travelling circus of disgusting junk food in the the High Street.

Yes, Chow Down better than the junk food in the High Street but it would have had to have been pretty disgusting to be worse. Not a high bar to exceed.

They also appeared to have minimum environmental standards. Stalls using recyclable containers. Though then let down with no obvious bin for compostable waste. My burger served in a card box went in general waste. Only later did I see a bin for recycling. But saw no bin for compostable waste. I saw a grand total of two bins, with one young man going round collecting the rubbish ignorant people had tossed on the ground.

Chow Down also had better food offering than the disgusting offering at the Lincoln Vegan Festival a couple of weeks ago in the Drill Hall, though vegans and vegetarians would have been very disappointed by what was on offer.

I expected to be spoilt for choice. I was not.

I settled for a burger. It was good, but I have had far better. Dirty Organic Burger in Brighton, burger from street food festival in a park in Guildford a couple of years ago (and it was charcoal grilled and came with a side of new potatoes).

A cappuccino off Laynes Espresso coffee stall using Dark Woods Arboretum espresso blend. It too was good, far better than usually get at such events, undrinkable coffee served from a van and better than the undrinkable coffee served in the Lincoln Castle cafe which is to insult visitors, but not in the same league as Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle.

And on a hot day, why no cold brew coffee? A very refreshing drink on a hot day.

Nor were the waffles on a waffle stall in the same league as Madame Waffle.

Laynes espresso claimed the Chow Down travelling circus was curated, in other words they have selected the best. If this was curated, I hate to think what it would have been if not.

If this is the best the North and Midlands has to offer on street food, then a poor reflection of street food culture in the region.

Not last year but the year before, Steam Punks had a far better street food offering.

I was there lunchtime, the Castle grounds were packed, and yet what was noticeable the food stalls were not busy.

There was better food on offer at the local farmers market outside the Castle in Castle Hill, from where I was also able to pick up an excellent local craft beer

After returning to the farmers market, where I found better food on offer, then walked down Steep Hill.

Drunks spilling out of the Magna Cart were blocking the street.

If Lincoln is to host a street food festival, then do not invite a travelling circus, organise own street food festival. If stalls not of quality, then do not invite again. For example, South Bank street food market has regulars, plus a couple of pitches for guest stalls.

Follow the example of Staycation Live in Godalming (underwritten by the local Town Council). Host in the Castle grounds a weekend of live free music in the summer, Lincoln BIG or the community fund that hopefully replaces Lincoln BIG as Lincoln BIG not fit for purpose underwrites, performers have their expenses covered, sell albums, and not only music, also drama and poetry, a collection for a worthy cause, street food, quality street food, around the periphery and dogs welcome.

Free summer weekend music festival in the grounds of Lincoln Castle, street food, finish at 2000 to give time to pack up in daylight, then continue in the evening in the town, for example Coffee Aroma street party, jazz with pizza from clay oven at Caffe Portico.

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