Food lovers will indulge in delights from across the city when a lavish food event makes its inaugural appearance.
Organisers of the Botley Food Fayre are in the midst of putting their finishing touches to the festival set to hit the area on Saturday. It is the first time churchgoers have united to transform West Way’s St Peter and St Paul Church into a culinary paradise.
Coordinator Judith Bowden said the organising team have been busy preparing for the festivities, which will be opened by Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood, for the past 15 months.
The grandmother-of-five, who lives in Eynsham but grew up in Botley, added: “I’m excited about it. We hope it will go swimmingly.”
More than 20 stalls boasting top-notch local produce are set to adorn the inside of the church and nearby grassy areas between 10am and 4pm.
Visitors will be encouraged to take a bite of food tickling their fancy while sitting in the church hall, where books featuring stories and recipes from the county’s best eateries will be on offer.
Mrs Bowden said churchgoers set about organising the fayre after hearing multi-million pound plans to transform the West Way Shopping Centre were given the go-ahead in June.
The 72-year-old said the congregation wants to show residents in the area the church will remain strong, despite nearby businesses closing.
She added: “Life has to go on in the midst of a redevelopment. We have got a very good hall and big church that the community can make use of while all the development is going on.
“We want this to be a community event so people can see what we have got on offer for them.”
Guests are also set to be enticed into a tent outside of the church, where horticultural and baking shows will be staged by Botley Women’s Institute and North Hinksey Horticultural Society.
Youngsters will have the chance to enjoy a bouncy castle and face painting, as well as a host of other entertainment.
Music and entertainment within the church will also keep the festival spirit alive, along with performances from a choir, pianist, organist, ukelele players and buskers.
A collage of resident’s memories of Elms Parade will be gathered from guests during their time at the food fayre.
Cash raised during the festivities will support Christian charity Tearfund’s One Big Mountain project, which aims to provide accessible water to people in need across the globe.
Father-of-three Graham Shelton, of Northmoor Lamb based at Church Farm, said he was excited to be flaunting his best local produce at the Botley event.
The 66-year-old added: “Events like this are great for bringing people together and getting them to talk to each other. I love getting to do things like this just because of that.”