Eden’s summer festival celebrating the district’s food and farming industries has enjoyed a healthy portion of support from Penrith Business Improvement District (BID).
The BID has contributed £3,750 to help the volunteer festival committee fund this year’s Penrith on a Plate event, as well as additional marketing support from Discover Penrith. “This is the fourth year of Penrith on a Plate and it’s become very popular, attracting several thousand local people and visitors into the town,” said Kelvin Dixon, chair of Penrith BID. “That footfall offers huge potential benefits for our members, who are the businesses and organisations in the town centre, as well as the wider area – not just on the day but also by putting Penrith on the map as a destination that visitors will want to come back to.”
Penrith on a Plate is a full-day food festival, featuring an extensive market brimming with Eden’s quality produce, along with music and family entertainment. The event was first served up by Eden District Council in 2012. It’s been continued by Penrith Partnership for the past two years, as a week-long festival giving people the chance to visit farms and producers and learn more about their food’s journey to the plate or glass.
The BID chairman encouraged businesses to reap the benefits of Penrith on a Plate. “We’ve supported a range of events and initiatives in the town, from the Winter Festival and Winter Droving to Totally Locally, because we recognise the economic benefit they bring, but it’s up to each individual business to capture their share of the potential trade,” Kelvin said. “Any business or organisation in the BID zone is entitled to book a free pitch at Penrith on a Plate to take their wares to the people, or they could give out vouchers or fliers to encourage shoppers to visit their premises, for example. I’d urge businesses to start planning now for what they can do and get in touch with the festival committee to book a stall or talk about their ideas.”
As well as providing financial support, Penrith BID is supporting the festival through the extra marketing might of the Discover Penrith website and social media, which promote the town to visitors as well as local people. New for this summer, there will be photo galleries for Penrith on a Plate and Penrith Show on DiscoverPenrith.co.uk, where anyone can upload their photos from the events and be in with a chance to win £50 in Penrith gift vouchers. There’ll be links to the galleries on the food festival publicity materials nearer the time.
Peter Ward, chair of Penrith Partnership, said the festival wouldn’t be possible without the support of its funders.“Putting on a festival of this sort is expensive and corporate sponsorship is particularly difficult to come by in the current economic climate,” Peter said. “The BID is our second-biggest funder after Eden District Council, and we’re grateful to them for helping us ensure that the festival stays firmly on the menu.”
Peter added that the festival committee would warmly welcome any support from Eden’s businesses – whether financial sponsorship or help with services or materials. “We’re open to any ideas businesses might have for helping the festival and we can offer a range of publicity in return for their contribution,” he said.
Penrith on a Plate kicks off the week-long Eden Food & Farming Festival on Saturday 18 July. Stalls can be booked online at www.edenfoodfestival.org or call 017683 51699 for more information.