The Cambridge Pumpkin Festival returned in 2016 (during October half term) with lots of fun and free events to encourage people to make use of their Halloween pumpkins and think about food waste.
CSF collaborated with local charities, community groups and businesses to organise 24 events around Cambridge during the festival, with a total attendance of over 2700. Scrumptious pumpkin specials were also on offer in local sustainable shops, restaurants and cafés.
The Pumpkin Pledge Prize Draw was new this year, with stickers able to be collected from our events and shops/cafés selling pumpkin specials. Participants had to collect three stickers and write down three ways they rescued food that week. We had lots of clever food-waste tips sent in and were pleased to give out the hampers to our two lucky winners (read our blog post here).
Below is a list of the festival highlights. We hope you will be able to join us for the 2017 Cambridge Pumpkin Festival!
Festival Launch / Pip’s Pumpkin Pop-up
For the festival launch, Mill Road Baptist Church was adorned with carved pumpkins and bunting. FoodCycle delivered a delectable four-course pumpkin-themed meal, all made from rescued food, with canapés for starters and pumpkin meringue pie, baklava and cheesecake for dessert. Emma Big Band livened the atmosphere with jazz music. It was a wonderful start to the festival.
Pop-up Farmers’ Market
Based at the Cambridge Museum of Technology and the first event of its kind organised by CSF, we were extremely pleased with how the day went and that around 900 people came to look around! There was lots to do, including buying and tasting food from local suppliers, apple pressing, visiting the indoor vegan café, and taking part in the kids’ activities, which included mask-making, leaf art, biscuit decorating and of course face-painting. The Steam-powered Rats also played during the event. We hope that everyone who attended had a lovely sunny autumnal day out.
St James’ Pumpkin Picnic
This was a very popular family event, with children keen to get involved with pumpkin carving and pumpkin-related craft activities. There was face-painting, singing, and outdoor fun too, including a treasure hunt! It was a great community event, with St James’ Church making an excellent venue.
Pumpkin Cake Decorating Kids’ Workshop
Co. and Allotment Café collaborated to put together a wonderful pumpkin cake decorating workshop for children on the Tuesday of our festival. Katie from Allotment Café provided a range of healthy decorations and toppings, including: pumpkin caramel, vanilla roasted pumpkin seeds, dried pumpkin seeds, and many others! Everyone left pleased with their hand-decoration creation and the recipe for the cupcakes.
In a cosy room in the upstairs of Wesley Methodist Church, people brought a variety of pumpkin dishes to share around, including pumpkin bread, pumpkin chutneys, pumpkin salads, stuffed sweet dumplings, and lots more. Whilst drinking tea, Dave Fox from the Trumpington Allotment Society gave a thought-provoking talk on how best to grow pumpkins.
Community Feast Cookery Workshop
Led by local chef Sam Dyer, families got the chance to make pumpkin soup, with little ones as young as two getting involved with the cooking! Cookery stations were set up outside in a marquee at the Margaret Wright Community Orchard, with lots of food waste facts dotted around. Sam gave a demonstration to begin with and a quick talk on the problem of food waste in the UK, before families got stuck in at rescuing the pumpkin flesh themselves! Bread and the warm soup were enjoyed afterwards.
Abbey People Pumpkin Festival
Following on from the cookery workshop in the orchard, there was a great demand to then carve the pumpkins! There were lots of other activities going on too, including crafts such as making apple/pumpkin seed hedgehogs, apple pressing, and music making. Abbey Meadows School Choir gave a performance later on, and this was followed by a bonfire, food, and fireside activities from ChYpPS. Abbey People did a great job at organising the event, which over 200 people attended.
“Let‘s Squash Food Waste” Stall
On both Saturdays during the festival we had a stall outside the Guildhall in the Market Square, with over 400 people visiting our first stall. We gave out food tasters with recipes to encourage people to use the insides of their pumpkins after carving them. FoodCycle kindly donated some pumpkin soup as well, made from vegetables which would have otherwise been thrown away. Passers by appreciated the offering of warm food and they also had the chance to pick up a compost caddy and other freebies, and have their photo taken with a giant pumpkin!
Kids’ Disco Soup
For the last Saturday of our Festival, we held a kids’ disco soup at St Andrews Hall in Chesterton. Children arrived in wonderful fancy dress and helped with cooking at the beginning, before everyone got the chance to try the pumpkin soup that was made. During the festivities, a DJ provided music to dance along to, and the dance floor was buzzing with children. There were lots of other craft activities too, along with face painting. A jolly event to end the festival, with 145 people attending.
Afternoon Tease Pumpkin Specials
Afternoon Tease put a fantastic pumpkin twist on afternoon tea. During the festival, they were serving pumpkin and dark chocolate bundt cake, pumpkin pie, and a roasted pumpkin, feta, toasted pine nuts, roasted & caramelised red onion sandwich, on toasted sourdough!
Bridges Pumpkin Specials
As well as hosting their own pumpkin carving competition, Bridges offered a range of tasty pumpkin specials during the festival. Dishes included: pumpkin soup, pumpkin & avocado salad, pumpkin & quinoa salad, pumpkin & courgetti salad, pumpkin & prawn fried rice, and spicy mushroom & pumpkin stew. We wanted to try them all!
Radmore Farm Shop
Radmore Farm Shop made a pumpkin purée base from which they made a range of great pumpkin specials, an easy way to rescue pumpkins. They roasted their pumpkin seeds too, to further reduce food waste.