Thousands gather for Bloom festival in Phoenix Park

Over 100 of the country's top food and drink companies are marketing their produce at the event

Thousands gather for Bloom festival in Phoenix Park

Health food entrepreneur Rozanna Purcell demonstrates her chops at the Bord Bia Quality Kitchen Stage, 02-06-2017. Image: Fennell Photography

Over 100,000 people are descending on Dublin’s Phoenix Park this weekend for this year’s Bloom festival - expected to be the biggest ever.

The showcase of the best of Ireland’s horticulture and food industry features a range of beautiful show gardens, food features, music, fashion, lively debate and family entertainment.

Over 100 of the country's top food and drink companies are marketing their produce to 250 national and international buyers.

The festival also has its own dedicated picnic grounds – with food vans from over 110 retailers.

Chinese Ambassador Yue Xiaoyong samples the produce at the Bloom festival, 03-06-2017. Image: Fennell Photography

Irish food retailers are using the showcase to drum up interest from beyond the UK as the impact of Brexit looms on the horizon.

John Lawlor from Kilbeggan Organic Foods told Newstalk the event is hugely important for the Irish food industry.

“It is fantastic,” he said. “As a small producer, it is really hard to get that face-time with a buyer.”

“They are really busy people, they have hundreds of products thrown at them each week so it is a unique opportunity to get that one-on-one time with the buyers when they are in a good mood after a good breakfast and they are really interested in your product and they are, hopefully, sourcing some products from the show.

“It is really good.”

However the event also attracts people of all ages and interests – with something for everyone on show:

A number of traffic diversions will remain in place all weekend – however there are courtesy shuttle buses from the centre of the city, dropping attendees right to the Park Gate.

This year’s event includes a special welcome for people travelling with young children – with the roll-out of the new ‘kids passport.’

The passport provides each child a wristband including a contact mobile phone number, in case they get separated from their friends and family.