THOUSANDS packed a town centre on Saturday for the third and biggest edition of its food and drink festival.

Headlined by celebrity ‘Beer Chef’ Richard Fox, it had Samba and Bhangra dancers, stiltwalkers, street entertainers, cookery demonstrations, ‘freestyle football’ from John Farnworth and tasty dishes from all over the world.

Almost 9,000 people attended the event in Nelson Town Centre which went down well with young and old, visitors and locals.

Walverden resident Ghazanfar Ali, 62, said: “It’s really good. I come every year and I think this is the best ever. There’s a real community feel.”

Clitheroe residents and regulars at its food festival Nic Gerrard, 43, and her children Lewis, 13, and Emma, 9, have come to the Nelson event for the first time. She said: “It’s really good and we are enjoying ourselves. We’ll be back next year.”

Lewis, fresh from a spring roll and chips and on his way for a chicken tikka kebab, said: “The food’s great.” Emma said: “The best thing is the the sweets.”

Event manager Zahida Shamim said: “This is the biggest and best-ever with the sun shining and the rain keeping away till just before the end.

“We must have had almost 9,000 people this year against 7,000 to 8,000 last time and around 6,000 in 2015.

“There was something for everyone from all communities and of all ages.

“It’s really helping boost Nelson town centre and bringing people in. Now we start planning for next year.”

Zafar Ali, chairman of Nelson Town Council, said: “It’s been fantastic and really brought people together.”

Town and Pendle Borough councillor George Adam,78, said: “It’s been a really great day for Nelson and the community. I really enjoyed myself.”

Stilt walker Natalie O’Brien, 22 from Goole, said: “I’ve never been to Nelson before. I looks pretty good from up here. I’m enjoyed myself and would definitely come back.” The festival was organised by Scott Dawson Advertising from Burnley on behalf of Nelson Town and Pendle Borough Councils.