EMMA DUNN previews a weekend bound to bring hungry and thirsty shoppers into Old Town

FANCY a scoop of ale ice cream? Or how about a ginger and red onion pork sausage, a pint of specially brewed beer... or even an alcoholic flavoured cupcake.

That’s what hundreds of families will find at Old Town’s Sausage and Ale Trail next weekend, in which Wood Street and the surrounding area will be transformed into a delicious food and drink-themed celebration.

The event, on Sunday, September 7, from 1pm to 6pm, will see Old Town businesses serving up beer and sausage-themed food and drink, with live music and children’s entertainment too.

Organised by the Old Town Business and Professional Association, the event will showcase the best the area has to offer as well as raising money for the Old Town Christmas lights, which are fully funded by the association.

If it is a success, it could be the first of many events of its kind in Old Town.

Jan Wojtowicz, owner of Wood Street Wellbeing, who is one of the organisers, said: “It’s something a bit different to bring people up to Old Town and show them what the businesses here have to offer.

“Old Town is famous for its bars and pubs, and there are a couple of new butchers here so we thought a Sausage and Ale Trail would be a great idea. There will be a whole selection of food and craft stalls.

“It’s going to be a fun day out and there will be lots of entertainment for the whole family.”

There will be a range of sausages and ales available especially for the event at Baker Street, 20 at the Kings, The Plough, The Pig on the Hill, The Old Bank and Longs Bar.

The Hop Inn will be serving up a beer brewed especially for the event, Magnum will be offering wines at £3 a glass, The Core will be serving raw food vegetarian sausage and apple juice, and Gustoso will be serving herb sausage wraps with caramelised onions, rocket and mustard mayonnaise.

Stalls in Wood Street will include homemade pies from Wilson’s Butchers, therapy taster sessions from Wood Street Wellbeing, chorizo in brioche buns from Balula’s, Spanish beers and Spanish cured and cooked sausages from Los Gatos, cupcakes from GlamoRose, and paneer and chickpea or smoked paprika chicken with peppercorn salami and chorizo wraps from Wood Street newcomer Eggelicious.

Entertainment will take place in Wood Street, outside the Arts Centre and in Old Town bars, including guitarist/singer Tyler Harvey, Heartland Acoustic duo, guitarist/singer Billy Job Bingham, and Wiltshire Blues sessions. The Theo Altieri band will perform at Baker Street at 4pm.

For the children, there will be face painting, Dotty Pots and real-life princess characters thanks to the Princess and the Spider.

Rays Ice Cream, in Devizes Road, will be serving homemade ice cream made with the Hop Inn’s ale, as well as a sorbet made with the Hop Inn’s cider. They will be selling them both in-store and from a stall just outside the Hop Inn.

Rays co-owner, Hadi Brooks, said: “We did beer ice cream for an Arkell’s event last year and it was really popular. We regularly serve Guinness ice cream here and the customers like it. We didn’t think sausage ice cream would be a winner!

“The Hop Inn has a special beer on for the event and we will be making the ice cream from that. We will also be making cider sorbet from Pheasant Plucker cider.

“It’s a great idea to get Old Town businesses together and to get more people up here on a Sunday. I think it will be a really fun afternoon.”

Wood Street Food Hall will be selling between 11 and 14 different varieties of sausage to cook at home including: venison, apple and black pudding; hot and spicy pork; ginger and red onion pork; beef and horseradish; and Moroccan lamb.

Customers are also being asked to come up with a new sausage flavour through Wood Street Food Hall’s Facebook page. The winning flavour will be served in the store on the day and the customer who created it will be given 12 free sausages too.

Butcher Marcus Cole, co-owner of Wood Street Food Hall, said: “We’ve had a few suggestions for flavours so far but we are looking forward to getting some more. The Sausage and Ale Trail will be a great event and we can’t wait to see everyone there.”

Jessie Dennis, who owns GlamoRose Cakes, will have a stall in Wood Street selling cupcakes for £1.50 each, four for £5, six for £7.50 or nine for £11.50.

They will be accompanied by princesses from the Princess and the Spider.

She said: “There is such a strong community spirit in Old Town. I want to do whatever I can to support this event because small shops like ours make Old Town what it is. It’s people working for their own passion who have put themselves out there. I can see how much work has gone into this and I really want Old Town to do well.

“I hope the event brings people up here and they think ‘look how much Old Town has achieved’.”

Businesses also taking part in the event include Asiana, Bistro Les Chats, Baila Coffee Shop, Le Petit Beauty Rooms, Hickmans, Mirrors of Old Town, Wiltshire Angling, Domino’s Pizza, Willoby’s Furniture Co, The Pantry, Young’s and Deacons.

The association thanked Mark Pepperall of Hot Pepper Designs, Minuteman Press and Jack FM for their support with the event too.

For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/sausageandaletrailswindon.

To enter Wood Street Food Hall’s competition, search for Wood Street Food Hall on Facebook or visit the store in Wood Street.