Thousands turned out for the first Halal Food Festival at Blackburn Rovers.

The area around Ewood Park was transformed by 68 stalls selling everything from Jalebis and Samosa Chaat to African jerk chicken.

The warm weather attracted more than 4,000 people to the event with families from across the North West and the UK making their way to the stadium.

The event was organised by Blackburn Rovers and Ewood Experience, supported by MyKitchenBakery by Hasina Bangi and Bangor Street Community Centre with 100 per cent of ticket sales going to charity.

Half of the money will support the work of Benefit Mankind’s Turkey/Syria Earthquake appeal, while the other half will provide food vouchers for local families in need.

As well as a range of food stalls, people could get their hands on Islamic Art pieces, perfumes and the latest Asian and Islamic fashions. 

Rovers’ players John Buckley and Sam Barnes mingled with fans during the day and the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service hosted a series of demonstrations for young children and adults who got the chance to use a fire hose.

Organisers had to limit the numbers being let into the area due to an influx of people turning up mid-afternoon.

Crowds thronged to some of the larger stalls which were selling barbequed lamb, beef and chicken kebabs.

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Manchester-based Pitmaster, Wokman and Shakey’s burgers proved to be popular on the day and they were joined by Finch Bakery, Fazila’s Foods, The Bee’s Knees, Chaii Cafe and Rafiki East African Barbeque and Grill House amongst others.

Tasty Treatz Events who serve their own brand of ice-creams and desserts at weddings and special occasions were one of the stall holders.

Tayyub Hussain said: “It has been an amazing day and the warm weather has certainly helped. 

“We are a Blackburn based company and we attend festivals up and down the country. It is great to be here in our hometown.”

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The newly formed Rovers South Asian Supporters group - Rovers SAS signed up 200 new members on the day.

Chair Zayd Rawoot said: "It is great to see so many families from all communities, but especially of South Asian heritage, at Ewood Park. Would love to see that on match days as well."

Tickets were priced at £10 for a family of five. Under 16s were charged £2 and infants gained entry for free.

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People could also purchase tickets on the weekend of the event.

The large numbers wanting to enter the venues led to organisers having to limit access to the areas mid-way through the afternoon. Stalls were spread out over the side of the Jack Walker Stand and behind the Blackburn End.

The ample free parking and the warmest day of the week proved to be a huge draw for families many of whom had travelled from surrounding towns such as Bolton, Preston, Oldham and Rochdale and further afield. 

Yasir Sufi from Blackburn Rovers who helped to stage the event thanked everyone for their support but also apologised to anyone who was not able to enter saying numbers had taken them by ‘surprise’.

Gallery Pictures courtesy of Grfxgrid

He said: “What an amazing turnout for our first ever Halal Food Festival. 

“The support from everyone took us by surprise. 

“Thank you to everyone who supported the Halal Food Festival at Ewood Park. It was our first. We got a lot wrong. We got a lot right.

“Sincere apologies to those who were unable to get in and we can only say how sorry we are, and we will learn from the experience of this event. 

“We raised an amazing amount for charity from ticket sales and its great to see so many people at Ewood Park for an event like this."

Anyone wanting a refund can email by forwarding proof of ticket purchase.

Oganisers added, "We understand a refund will not make up for your experience. The aim of the event was to raise money for charity and to provide a fantastic event for as many as possible. We understand for some this was not the case."

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Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Councillor Suleman Khonat said: "This was a fantastic event and a job well done.

"Thank you so much for putting a fantastic show.

"Blackburn Rover's leading the way always. It was great to meet thousands of local people but also enjoyed talking to people from many parts of UK who appreciated the opportunity to come to Ewood.

"The Sky was blue and white, the ground was Blue and white and everyone who managed to get in loved every minute."