by Kate O'Neille
THOUSANDS flocked to Lismore's CBD on Saturday to enjoy the colours, sights, sounds and foodie delights of the Eat the Street Festival.
Hungry crowds were spoiled for choice, with stalls offering everything from seafood paella, Japanese gyoza, Bratwurst and wood-fired pizza, to Dutch poffertjes, hand made chocolates, waffles, ice cream and cannoli.
An estimated 20,000 people attended the third annual festival, which also offered celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, live music, kid's entertainment, and a latte art competition.
Food stalls were consistently busy throughout the day, serving plate after plate from 12 noon right through until 8pm.
"It's busy, but it's a real buzz,” said stall holder Meike McIlroy of Dutch waffle stall Waffle On.
"It's fantastic. I love it, the people are really friendly - it's a real gathering of all different kinds in the community, and there's just so much beautiful food.”
The weather was perfect, with all-day sunshine and blue skies, and shady tables and chairs providing relief during the hottest part of the day.
For those who had eaten their fill, there was the chance to pick up some cooking tips at demonstrations given by chefs including Steven Snow of Fins, Katrina Kanetani, of Town Bangalow and Kate Walsh of Real Food Cooking Schools and entertainment from the likes of The Pitts Family Circus.
There was also the chance to dance along to bands including The Button Collective and the Bella Fontes, see art being created on the spot by street artists in the Back Alley Gallery; while the kids were able to enjoy the jumping castle, balloon art, playdough table by The Chefs and face painting.
Among the happy faces soaking up the food, drinks and festive atmosphere on Saturday were Tony and Kerry Batts of Ballina, who came for the first time on the recommendation of their friends.
"The food is really good, the service is fast and there's such a good range,” said Tony.
"It's nice to see the town come alive,” said Kerry.
"It's fantastic for Lismore.”
FOR $20 AND UNDER:
Salt and Chilli Pepper Squid with watercress, fingerlime and a lemon myrtle sweet chilli drizzle from Mayfields $10 and and two Organic Ginger Beer from The Organic Drink Co Byron Bay $5.
Spicy lamb with hummus, yoghurt, tabouli, flat bread from Dragon Fly $10 and a North Coast mojito by Northern Rivers' own Ink Gin $8.