Rain or shine Chilli Fiesta brings heat and spice to all

Photo by Derek Martin Photography
Photo by Derek Martin Photography

Despite the mixed weather conditions, thousands visited West Dean Gardens over the weekend for a fiesta full of spice, entertainment and chilli activities.

Organisers of the annual Chilli Fiesta cancelled the event on the Saturday as a result of high winds, meaning that it ran only on Friday, and Sunday – but this certainly did not dull the spicy weekend.

Spicy goods with Monica Cudjoe, left and Lee Sylvester

Spicy goods with Monica Cudjoe, left and Lee Sylvester

The unique festival provided a wide range of activities with a chilli theme including cookery demos with contestants Miranda Gore Browne and Steven Carter-Bailey from Great British Bake Off and live Latin music with professionals from BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and.

Visitors were also able to witness gardening demonstrations from top gardening experts including a special herb-inspired cocktail making masterclass which allowed all to take home their new skills.

This year also featured an outdoor cinema to keep visitors of all ages entertained between other activities.

Chief executive, Alex Barron, said: “We were delighted to see such a busy final day at this year’s West Dean Chilli Fiesta with an extended programme culminating in a brilliant firework finale at 10pm.

“Thanks to everyone who came, including our entertainers, stallholders and of course the public for their support during the challenging weather.”

The fiesta featured more than 100 stalls which offered guests a wide variety of testers such as chilli inspired snacks, spicy alcohol and unique gifts so that visitors could take a little part of the weekend home with them.

Next year will be the Chilli Fiesta’s 25th anniversary and the organisers are hoping to make next year’s event the best yet with plans already underway.

Alex added: “Plans are already underway to celebrate our 25th Fiesta in 2020 (August 7-9) in true carnival style and guarantee being there by buying your ticket now.”

Organisers are offering a unique early bird discount of 30 per cent for the next two weeks. Visit https://www.westdean.org.uk/gardens/events/chilli-fiesta.

Those people with tickets to Saturday’s cancelled event - who were unable to change their days at the weekend - are able to receive a refund.