THOUSANDS of visitors enjoyed the culinary delights on offer at the first day of Bishop Auckland Food Festival.

It is thought around 20,000 people visited the event today, browsing more than 160 stalls of local produce, savoury and sweet treats, hot food, drinks, crafts and community groups.

TV chef Simon Rimmer drew large crowds for his food demonstrations and some traders sold out of goods by the mid-afternoon.

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Although some stall-holders reported having a slow start to the day due to rain this morning, many said that visitor numbers increased as the weather improved this afternoon.

The Durham County Council event, organised in partnership with the Auckland Castle Trust and Bishop Auckland Town Council, takes place again tomorrow, in the grounds of Auckland Castle and the town's market place, from 10am to 4.30pm.

Entry is free.

For information about the park-and-ride system, visit