THOUSANDS of people got into the festive spirit in Cockermouth this weekend for the fourth Taste Cumbria Christmas market.

The town was filled with the smells of mulled wine and spiced cider, roasting meats and home baked treats as Main Street filled with dozens of food and drink producers.

There were fears on Friday night that the festival may not be able to go ahead as strong gusty winds hit West Cumbria. The organisers, Carlisle-based CN Events, had been unable to erect two large weatherproof marquees as planned, so traders were asked to set up in gazebos early on Saturday morning in the hope that the wind would drop.

The same weather conditions affected outdoor events all over the area – the organisers of the Windermere Christmas Celebration also announced their event would begin later than planned, while markets in Hexham and in Workington were both cancelled.

Louisa Le Voi, who owns Cockermouth’s Quince & Medlar restaurant with her husband Colin, had a stall in the Taste Cumbria market. She said: “We ploughed on with the cooking even when we feared it wouldn’t go ahead and it has been great. We sold all our Christmas cakes on Saturday, people were queuing for food before we’d even set up our stall!”

It was the first event Eloise and Ash O’Neill had done with their new business Coal Kadai.

Their wood-smoked food, cooked fresh in fire pits, attracted loads of attention – so much so that they sold out in just a couple of hours on Saturday. Ash said: “Our sausages and lamb mince are from Tony Harrison’s butchers here in Cockermouth so our food couldn’t be more local. It’s gone really well. Most of our business is going to be weddings so it’s great that people were so interested in what we were doing.”

Darren Todd, from Chestnut House in Pooley Bridge at Ullswater, says they do food festivals to promote their shop..

“They’ve had people in the shop at Ullswater today who were here with us yesterday,” he said. “We wanted to come to the festival because our business has Cumbria at its core. We stock every single Cumbrian spirit and local food suppliers in our food hall. It’s been fantastic to meet so many visitors and locals alike.”