More than 12,000 enjoy choc fest
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