MORE than 10,000 people flooded Green Lanes yesterday to take part in the area's first ever food festival.

Live music entertained the crowds between 11am and 4pm, while 100 stalls provided food, drink, books, jewellery and gifts. Many sold out in under three hours due to overwhelming demand.

Designed to represent the diversity of the area, food on offer ranged from Caribbean salt fish fritters and Eritrean fava beans to Vietnamese steamed dumplings and Turkish cous cous.

The bands, performing onstage near Stanhope Gardens, were equally diverse, providing a lively mixture of reggae, klezmer, percussion and folk music.

Festival organiser Nora Mulready, 26, from Allison Road, hailed the event a "huge, huge success".

She said: "We had to operate on a very low budget - we're talking literally in the hundreds - so we are really pleased with how it turned out.

"The reason it's worked out so well is because everyone mucked in - traders, residents, Haringey Council, everyone. It is truly a community festival.

"What we wanted to achieve, mainly, was for everyone to have a really good time. This is a genuinely diverse community, all from different backgrounds, and we thought it would be a great idea to get everyone together.

"We also wanted to put Harringay on the map as it's such an amazing, special place. Community spirit is so strong here. You can literally walk down any street and not feel frightened. Everyone gets along."

Colin Easson, 52, from Fairfax Road, was running a stall for Muna's Restaurant, which specialises in East African food. He said: "It has been much more hectic than we expected. We sold out of half our dishes by 2pm.

"It has been great fun meeting people from so many different societies. The festival is a great way to raise awareness of different dishes and encourage people to sample all sorts of things they wouldn't normally taste."

Roast plantain, chicken chow mein and jerk wraps were just a few of the dishes on offer at the Banton's Family Kitchen stall. Stallholder Natalie Sheppard, 32, from Wembley, was hoping to use the festival to help her establish a customer base from which she could launch a business.

"We just sell at festivals at the moment, but we're hoping to get a restaurant by the end of the year," she said.

"The day has been really good. It's been a great way to meet people and spread the word. We've got no complaints at all, and really hope it runs again next year."

Councillor Nilgun Canver, cabinet member for enforcement and safer communities, was one of the organisers of the event. Speaking to the crowd, she said: "Isn't it fantastic we finally have a festival after having talked about it for seven years?

"They said they couldn't close the roads, they said it was a main artery, but due to the determination of the people of Green Lanes, we proved them wrong.

"Events like this create community spirit, and that's what it's all about - bringing everyone together."

In the final speech of the day, Tottenham MP David Lammy praised the traders and residents for their "extremely hard work".

He added: "I am actually emotional that more than 10,000 people came here today. It is a huge, huge achievement, especially for those who said it couldn't happen.

"People have come from across London to be here and I am so proud to support such a fantastic event and see it grow."