RECENT storms threatened to put a damper on proceedings, but the York Food & Drink Festival got off to a flying start today.

Last night, the wind was so bad that one of the pitches almost blew away and had to be abandoned.

Despite being weighted down, the Indie York tent toppled over and founder, Cllr Johnny Hayes, was moved to another pitch on the festival’s opening day today - out of the rain in Parliament Street’s main marquee.

He said it was fortunate he hadn’t set up last night as originally intended: “It was a disaster averted. There wasn’t much left of it!”

Among the fine food on offer from local producers, tasting sessions, workshops and demos, the Indie York stand will be offering samples from independent York businesses all week.

The weather today remained blustery, but organisers were confident people wouldn’t be put off. Festival founder Michael Hjort said: “It’s a feature of autumn, isn’t it? You take the rough with the smooth. It was just unfortunate we ended up setting up in the bad weather.”

The festival runs till September 30 and the weather is looking brighter for next week.

Highlights for today include a market on Fossgate featuring Yorkshire micro-producers, a tasting session at York Nurturing Kitchen in Spark, as well as a range of demos from top chefs.

Tomorrow’s line-up offers a cake decorating workshop and authentic Indian cookery demos on St Sampson’s Square.

There are plenty of activities for youngsters throughout, with around 800 children expected at the festival’s newest venue, the Food Factory, next week.

The Factory is a hands-on experience giving visitors the chance to make their own delicacies, but Michael stressed that it’s not just for kids.

He also hoped adult foodies would soak up the atmosphere at evening events, with live music and bars till 9pm.

See for full details and tickets.