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THE 2018 Melksham Food and River Festival held an official launch with event sponsors and committee members, at a breakfast event hosted by Leekes of Melksham on Tuesday 6th March.
The 2018 festival will be held on the River Avon and in the George V park over the weekend of 1st and 2nd September.
Despite appalling weather on the festival Sunday last year, great feedback was received from stallholders and the public – so by public demand – a full programme of activities, boat trips, cooker/food demonstrations, fun fair, music entertainment, stalls and river events will take place on both days of this year’s festival. The full programme will be announced at a later date.
The festival is a chance to see the wide range of food and drink products produced locally. Already, 50 trade and activity stalls have registered for the event – more than double the number registered for the 2017 festival. However, there is still time for local traders to book stalls at the festival – details are on the website.
The main sponsors for the 2018 festival to date are: Melksham Town Council who have provided a cash grant of £2,500; Leekes is sponsoring the main activity and providing a kitchen facility for the cooking demonstrations; Waitrose is providing a cash grant of £1,000, plus providing food-related demonstrations in the marquee and having a stall; McCarthy & Stone is providing a cash grant of £500, plus having a stall at the event.
Superior Creative Services are generously donating the promotional leaflets and Sound Marketing are again providing banners.
Sponsorship of specific activities at the festival are being provided by Foxhangers, who are sponsoring a raft race held on the Saturday; Cooper Tires are also providing free car parking, as well as supporting the zip wire river crossing.
Box Steam Brewery, a local brewery in Holt will be providing a full bar for the event featuring monthly topical beers, core ales and some new seasonal drinks to try.
Mayor cllr Adrienne Westbrook, organiser of the festival said, “I am delighted with how many people turned up for the launch and a massive thank you to all of our sponsors. We wouldn’t have such a great event without them – let’s hope for good weather this year!”
Alison Peacock, representative for McCarthy and Stone said, “We always try to work closer with the communities where we are building and the food and river festival is such a great cause! We contacted Adrienne about how we could help and were given the opportunity to become a sponsor.”
David Williams, representative from Waitrose said, “We are always looking into ways to strengthen our links with the community. We were part of the event last year and enjoyed it – so we are looking to do the same this year.”
Dave Watson, representative from Leekes said, “We are looking forward to the event being two days of sunshine this year, that will be great. Leekes are keen on building relationships with the community in Melksham and have helped in previous years and will do so again this year.”
Emma Putnam, events co-ordinator from Box Steam Brewery said, “The event was great last year, we thoroughly enjoyed it. People were even in high spirits during the downpour on the Sunday. But, there was a moment on the Saturday where everyone was sipping their drinks, watching the river and we thought ‘this is gold’ and decided to help again this year. As a local brewery it is great for us to support local community events.”
The launch was also an opportunity to announce a competition for local people to design a poster/front page for the programme. Open to people of all ages – there will be two prizes – one for children under 12 and the other for adults. Winners will each receive a ‘Golden Ticket’ which enables a family of four to free rides on a whole range of specified facilities.
More details of the competition and the festival is on the website at www.melkshamfoodand riverfestival.co.uk
Above: L-R David Williams from Waitrose, Dave Watson of Leekes, mayor Adrienne Westbrook, Jon Miller of Leekes, Alison Peacock McCarthy & Stone, Clare Harris Melksham Town Council and Emma Putnam, Box Steam Brewery.