More than 12,000 en­joy choc fest

Rossendale Free Press - - Front Page - STE­FAN JAJECZNYK

THE Rams­bot­tom Cho­co­late Fes­ti­val has been hailed an ‘un­prece­dented’ suc­cess - af­ter fine weather helped to boost vis­i­tor num­bers to record lev­els.

Or­gan­is­ers say the fes­ti­val, which took place on the week­end of March 24-25, saw thou­sands of cho­co­late-lovers flock­ing to the town for the ev­er­pop­u­lar pre-Easter event.

And they be­lieve the num­bers topped the 12,000 that at­tended last year’s event.

Cho­co­late filled stalls lined Bridge Street, as well as Mar­ket Place, in­side the Civic Hall; the Church Gar­dens and the Mar­ket Car Parks. Traders show­cased a wide va­ri­ety of foods - from tra­di­tional fudge and cakes to more un­ortho­dox prod­ucts like wine and cheese.

Gregg Fletcher, one of the fes­ti­val’s or­gan­is­ers, thanked the lo­cal com­mu­nity for their sup­port - which he de­scribed as ‘amaz­ing’.

He said: “This year, we fol­lowed the new lay­out that was put in place last year and also put more ar­eas in place like seat­ing ar­eas and al­fresco din­ing - it was lovely see­ing fam­i­lies sat en­joy­ing the sun­shine, eat­ing and drink­ing. This year, we had un­be­liev­ably good weather - es­pe­cially when you think what the pre­vi­ous week­end was like; and, with it brought an un­prece­dented num­ber of vis­i­tors to Rams­bot­tom.”

Gregg said the Ice Al­chemists - who made and hand-rolled ice cream on an ice plate - and the Nutella truck were both ‘in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar’.

He added: “I think 90 per cent of vis­i­tors had Nutella this week­end! The al­fresco din­ing, with the Gin Meis­ter truck and Pros­ecco bar, saw peo­ple sat out­side en­joy­ing the food and at­mos­phere with a drink.

“As al­ways we had fan­tas­tic sup­port from lo­cal res­i­dents and the lo­cal busi­nesses who kept the traders, stew­ards and vol­un­teers fed and wa­tered.”

Gregg said that while the fi­nal fig­ures were not known, ‘thou­sands and thou­sands’ of vis­i­tors made the trip to Rams­bot­tom and seemed to en­joy them­selves.

He added: “Lo­cal busi­nesses like Eclec­tic, Room 54 and Mur­rays Fam­ily Cloth­ing all con­tacted us to say what a boost it is to the lo­cal econ­omy.

“The traders all re­ported record sales, they each com­mented on how lovely the Rams­bot­tom vis­i­tors are and how friendly an area it is.

“We spoke to vis­i­tors who said what a beau­ti­ful town it is and how they had found new places to shop, eat and drink that they hadn’t re­alised were here.”

Gregg re­sponded af­ter claims were raised of ‘ex­treme over­crowd­ing’ on Bridge Street.

He said that stalls were moved to cre­ate ex­tra space.

He said: “We did take mar­quees out to ease con- ges­tion and moved traders to make space.

“We kept Sil­ver Street and Prince Street free to en­sure peo­ple could dis­perse, with stew­ards di­rect­ing peo­ple, if Bridge Street was crowded.”

Rams­bot­tom Ro­tary Club work­ers sell­ing Duck Race tick­ets

Cooking up a treat

Stall work­ers from The Yummy Yank

Some stalls of­fered va­ri­eties of cheese

There was plenty of choice

There was chance to have a laugh

An­other tasty treat bought

There were plenty of ea­ger cus­tomers

Crowds of peo­ple flocked to the fes­ti­val to view the stalls

There was lots to en­joy

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