Wine festival boost for Honiton
Annual event will be launched during the Olympics next year.
TRADE in Honiton is set to get a massive boost - thanks to the Olympics and a major new annual event, it has been revealed.
The inaugural Honiton Wine Festival will take place over two days in July next year and is a joint venture between Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Honiton and District Lions Club.
Around 5,000 people are expected to visit the festival, which has been given the support of John Sheaves, the chief executive of Taste of the West, and Brian Shirley, chairman of South West Wine Producers.
Organisers aim to promote South West wines and fruit juices, whilst raising money for local charities. They say the spin-off will be increased trade in the town, as a result of an influx of visitors.
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Honiton Wine Festival Committee was formally launched last week, although work on the project has been going on behind the scenes for months.
Licences to hold the event in marquees on Allhallows Playing Field have already been granted, Colin Wright, the chamber’s chairman, said. An exact date for the venture has yet to be confirmed. Organisers want to ensure it does not clash with the opening of the 2012 Olympics.
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Stockbroker Pieter Burger, an executive member of Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry, formally unveiled plans for the festival at the chamber’s annual meeting last week.
Reading a joint statement from the chamber and Lions Club, he said: “The festival committee is planning a range of other activities, including demonstrations and entertainment. The committee expects the event will attract a large number of tourists to Honiton, besides raising a substantial sum of money for local charities.
“There will be a considerable spin-off, too, for pubs, restaurants, shops and other attractions in the area, and it is hoped that many local businesses will become involved.”
Businesses and organisations wishing to become involved in the annual event are being urged to get in touch with the committee.
Honiton Town Council has given the venture its full backing.
Mr Burger added: “Next year promises to be an exciting year with the Olympics in London and Weymouth. This event, aimed at boosting the local economy, should also attract a large number of the Olympic tourists to Honiton.
“The committee expects the event to grow over the years, providing a long-lasting legacy for the town.”
Bob Francis, the vice-president of Honiton and District Lions Club, came up with the idea.
To find out more about the event email Honitonwinefestival@honitonlions.org.uk