Food festival cooks up new Friends scheme

Caroline Stewart at Bari Tea.
Caroline Stewart at Bari Tea.

A new Friends scheme has been launched by Alnwick Food Festival, to try to serve up additional business for town traders.

With just over a week to go until the culinary showcase, the committee has unveiled the initiative, to encourage visitors to pop into Alnwick’s variety of outlets.

Shops, restaurants and pubs which have singed up to the Friends scheme will display the logo in their window and will be offering special promotions to coincide with the food festival, which takes place on Saturday, September 22, and Sunday, September 23.

Food festival chairman, Philip Angier, said: “The committee is keen that the festival benefits businesses all around the town, especially local pubs, cafés and restaurants.

“That is good for the town and good for our visitors – after all, there is no need for visitors’ enjoyment of the weekend to stop at 5pm when trading ends in the Market Place.”

Kathryn Archibald, a member of the festival steering committee and one of the promoters of the Friends scheme, added: “The Friends scheme will enable local businesses to participate more fully in the festival.

“We are delighted with the positive response, as more than 30 local businesses will be joining our festival community as sponsors, traders or Friends.”

Visitors will be able to find the names and locations of all of the businesses participating in the Friends scheme by scanning the QR code on the front cover of the free food-festival programme.

Melanie Corn, marketing and promotions officer, said: “The QR code means that we can give visitors lots of additional information and updates about what’s happening at the festival, as well as signposting visitors to the businesses who have signed up to the scheme.”

One of the businesses to join the scheme is Bari Tea, on Narrowgate.

Caroline Stewart, owner, said: “We are proud to be participating in the Friends scheme alongside some of our neighbours in Narrowgate. It is essential to find ways to make events like the food festival a win-win-win for the event organisers, for visitors to the town and for local businesses alike.

“We will be hosting our own Tea Festival at Bari Tea over the weekend. This year, we are featuring five fine quality Kenyan teas, each with a strong and robust flavour.”

Another business to come on board is the The Cookie Jar, on Bailiffgate, which has signed up as a platinum member of the scheme. Coincidently, the food festival coincides with the venue’s first birthday.

The 2018 food festival will bring more than 50 street-food stalls and food and drink producers to Alnwick Market Place as well as a full programme of family entertainment in the Kidz Zone situated in the Northumberland Hall. The beer festival will be hosted in the Town Hall over the same weekend. Further details of the weekend programme will be published in next week’s Gazette. In addition to a full Market Place, organisers are receiving lots of interest from traders wanting to take a stall on the Saturday Street Market in Bondgate Within during the festival. For more festival information, visit alnwickfoodfestival.co.uk or the event’s Facebook page.