Get ready for some red-hot festival fun

A FEAST of cider and chillis will greet visitors to Alnwick this weekend as the first festival of its kind takes place in the town.

Organised by Alnwick Round Table, the Cider Festival has been launched because of the drink’s success at the Table’s annual beer festival.

And sticking with traditions, as the Alnwick Food Festival runs alongside the beer festival in September, it was decided that the event committee would hold a mini chilli festival to complement the cider.

The Cider Festival starts on Friday, running to the end of Saturday, while the chilli festival will run on Saturday only.

A special chilli and ginger cider has also been made for the event by Jim Anderson of Thistly Cross Cider near Dunbar.

Jim has been an avid supporter of both the beer and food festivals and it was his ciders which sold out and had to be replenished at last year’s event.

Both events are being held in the Town Hall after a location change from the Market Place.

The Cider Festival will feature 21 different types, including seven from Thistly Cross and four from Wales, while the mini chilli festival will see around six stalls selling chilli-related produce.

Tabler Mark Turnbull, organiser of the Cider Festival, said: “Cider is getting more and more popular and we’re all quite enthusiastic about it, so we thought we would hold a cider festival to see how it goes.

“We want to draw more people in to Alnwick and promote the town.”

Karen Larkin, director of Alnwick Food Festival, said: “We are trying something a little bit different this year with a view to expanding the idea over the next 12 months or so.

“Our aim is to bring a selection of mini festivals to Alnwick each with their own theme.

“It is fabulous to be working alongside Alnwick Round Table again and we hope that we can put another festival in the calendar of annual events.”

A special pork pie made with Thistly Cross Chilli and Ginger Cider has been made for the weekend. It is now on sale at Turnbull’s of Alnwick Butchers and will also be on sale during the festival itself.

The Cider Festival will run from 6pm to 11pm on Friday and 11am to 11pm on Saturday. Entry costs £3.50 and includes a glass and one cider token (two tokens between 11am-6pm Saturday). Tokens thereafter are £1.50 each.

The chilli festival will run from 9am to 4pm on Saturday and entry is free.

• The inaugural North East Chilli Festival is being held at Seaton Delaval Hall, Saturday, July 7 and Sunday, July 8. Tickets: £7 per day, 14+ £3, U14s free.