IT is one of the highlights of the year in Lymm.

And the 11-day Lymm Festival launches today, Thursday, with a free food festival as the village is closed to traffic between 6pm and 9pm.

Ann Johnstone, one of the organisers, said: "Lymm Foodfest is the first event on our 11-day programme; it sets the tone for the whole festival.

"It’s like a giant outdoor café – serving street food with fun and free entertainment. Come rain or shine it goes ahead and we get thousands of outside visitors.”

Only local traders are permitted to have a stall at Foodfest. There are 17 taking part this year and each one gets two trestle tables from which to sell their wares – including Italian, Turkish, Indian and Chinese cuisine.

“We’ll be selling local ice cream from Cheshire Farm and possibly wraps,” says restaurant-owner Fikret Aslan, who has lived in Lymm for 11 years. “Lymm Festival is the best advert for Lymm businesses. There’s no substitute for having people able to come and physically try your food.”

The food festival kicks off 11 days of art, music, comedy, talks and more in the village.

There is even a scarecrow trail and a open gardens day.

For details on all the events taking place visit the festival website by clicking here