CARDIGAN River and Food Festival is back for its 21st year with a raft of fresh new features and a record number of stalls.

Showcasing the top independent food and drink producers from Cardigan and west Wales, old festival favourites and new enterprises will form the biggest festival yet as it expands to more than 80 traders at Quay Street car park on Saturday, August 17 (10am-5pm).

Five new businesses have received heavy subsidies to support their entry into the festival, including a brand new horsebox-cocktail-bar, Bocs Y Jin.

In Cegin y Cardi (the festival kitchen), the food programme has taken a turn towards sustainability and seasonality, featuring some leading figures in the Welsh Slow Food scene.

Gareth Johns is the Slow Food Ambassador Chef for Wales, working with local chefs to promote sustainable food and local producers. He will run two ‘Slow Fish’ demonstrations using seasonal, local catches and produce.

He will be joined by Cardigan’s own Jack Wild of Bara Menyn Bakehouse - a ‘leading light of Welsh baking’ - for a discussion on the movement, which aims to reinvigorate people’s interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us.

Dafydd Davies (from local butcher Dewi James) and Cornel Uys (chef at Hammet House-Castell Malgwyn) will collaborate once again, following their popular set last year, with a ‘slow pork’ demo.

The festival is also demonstrating the importance of food for health and wellbeing.

There are a growing number of traders who specialise in exclusively vegan and vegetarian food -new enterprise Kirstie’s Welsh Mylks, Good Carma Foods, Babita’s Spice Deli) - plus nutritional therapist Margaret Crook (aka Recipe for Health) and the award-winning Jayne Holland (aka Veganishmum), who will be opening the festival with a vegan and raw food demo.

They will be followed later in the day by Parc y Dderwen who will run a ‘Make Your Own Sauerkraut’ workshop (for 15 participants at a subsidised £5pp), explaining techniques and the benefits of good gut health.

The festival will be celebrating Cardigan’s fishing identity and its unique relationship with the River Teifi.

‘Pysgod Point’ is a new festival information hub, and Mandy Walters of Cardigan Bay Fish will hold two seafood stalls as well as delivering her festival-favourite ‘How To Dress A Crab’ food demonstration.

A heavily subsidised 'Swshi School' will enable 15 participants to learn about the history of sushi and make their own (thanks to the Seafood Festival Fund). All workshop places are given out on a first-come-first-serve, so get in early and sign up at the Festival info point.

For the very first time in the festival’s history, there will be a dedicated family fun area – Parti 'da Barti – hosted by Cardigan Castle in its first collaboration with the festival.

There will be plenty of free activities for kids, including an interactive seaweed stall with renowned forager Jade Mellor (Wild Pickings), festival partners Small World Theatre holding an intergenerational arts and crafts tent, an interactive discovery space with the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales’ ‘Living Seas’ project, and early years rave-style play with Paz of Jungle Cubs

On the river there is a programme that focuses on participation, with lots of opportunity for visitors to get out onto the water themselves.

There are free rides on a 10-person giant canoe (Adventure Beyond), with additional canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboard (SUP) taster sessions (£5pp for 30 minutes).

The RNLI will arrive at 10.30am, followed by a skiff race, coracle demo and competitive demo between three of the top SUP pro's in Cardigan Bay – Andy Campbell, Leanne 'Surfing Bird' and Libby Chivers.

The host for this year is St Dogmaels’ own Daf Wyn Rees (Heno S4C) who will be joined by festival resident DJ Snaggletooth Pete on the mainstage in the food court.

Jungle Cubs will open the festival at 10am (families get there early) with further entertainment by Dreams Dance, swing band No Mean Biscuit and rock band Backtrax.

Extinction Rebellion Cardigan are eco-partners for this year’s festival, encouraging behaviour change by making the public aware of waste issues, supervising waste management and on-site recycling. Visit their stall for more information.

The festival, laid on by Menter Aberteifi under new festival co-ordinator Alex Crampton, is a not-for-profit event that supports - and is supported by - many local businesses, including Fedwens (sponsors of this year’s festival), Litterpickers, Cariad and more.

The festival is made possible with the support of the Welsh Government Food & Drink division, the Seafood Festival Fund, Cardigan Town Council and Ceredigion County Council.