MAYBE the Ribble Valley resembled more of a river valley on Saturday.

But the torrential downpours failed to dampen the enthusiasm of thousand of foodies who flocked to Clitheroe' annual culinary festival.

More than 100 stallholders packed out Castle Street, the town's market and surrounding streets, as the food fiesta cemented its position as one of Britain's top gastronomic attractions.

Promoters were all smiles - with their only grimaces reserved for the nation's weather forecasters.

Tom Pridmore, tourism officer for organisers Ribble Valley Council, said: "Their message was basically 'batten down the hatches and stay indoors'.

"We've seen people coming from all over the north-west to join us in Clitheroe, despite the rain though.

"One couple from Poland even told us how they had planned their whole holiday around attending the food festival.

"In the end we only had one musical act crying off because of the weather."

Old favourites like the sausage kings Cowmans and Stansfields Deli rubbed shoulders with some of the borough's fledgling outfits around the festival grounds.

The likes of the Ribble Valley Gin Company, Bowland Chocolate Company and soapmakers Kushboo were also kept busy between the showers.

Cheeky dinner ladies Rita and Freda, the slapstick performers The Comedy Waiters and Mad Science kept young and old alike entertained, with several marquees offering live music dotted around town.

Nearby Holmes Mill also got in on the act, with their own live acts, and Bowland Beer, on offer until late.

Council tourism chiefs have been promoting the wider Ribble Valley as 'food heaven' in recent times and have also devised 'Walks With Taste', to showcase some of their food establishments and cottage industries