Thursday, 05 August 2021

New food festival forced to move date for second time

A NEW food festival could have to change its dates for a second time.

A NEW food festival could have to change its dates for a second time.

The Henley Food and Drink Festival is due to be held on June 11 and 12 after plans to hold it on May 7 and 8 were changed because the Henley on Food festival, which is also a new event, is to be held at Shiplake College only a week before that.

Now the organisers are to be asked to reschedule again because it would clash with the Henley Highwayman triathlon.

The Highwayman, which started this year, is one of the Henley Swim events and is given use of Market Place for the two days by Henley Town Council.

At a meeting last week, the council’s town and community committee agreed to allow the Food and Drink Festival free use of Falaise Square for a marquee and other town centre venues including the town hall, the Old Fire Station Gallery and King’s Arms Barn for the sale of cookery items and demonstrations.

However, members decided to give priority for June 11 and 12 to the Highwayman after the organisers of both events applied for the same dates.

Tracey Pryce, director of the festival, said: “We would rather not move it again but we will do what’s best for the town. I can’t confirm about other dates yet — it’s going to take a couple of days to sort out.

“The festival is not going to be cancelled. We’re going to have talks about how to make that weekend work for everyone. Everyone agrees that’s a good date so hopefully we can work round it and the councillors have some ideas.”

The committee also agreed to charge the Henley House and Garden Show, which also started this year, £3,540 to hire the committee room, council chamber, large hall, King’s Arms Barn and Market Place. This is the council’s rate for “local users”.

Last year, show organiser Niki Schafer received use of the spaces for no charge.

Mrs Schafer, an interior designer from Henley, said this year’s show will take place on March 12 and 13.

She said: “Last year about 4,000 came over the two days, free of charge. It was a celebration of design. There were 65 high end exhibitors.

“We tried to include as many people as possible and we want to do that again next year.” Mrs Schafer said she hoped to provide Henley College students with work experience with exhibitors and also hoped to involve the River and Rowing Museum this year.

Councillor Kellie Hinton said the show was “almost a victim of its own success”.

She said: “We have just heard how wonderful and successful it is. If 4,000 people attended they could charge £1 entry and still make £400. I suggest, as a really successful event, we grant them use but they pay for it.”

The committee’s decisions will now be considered by the full council.

• Mrs Schafer has been granted planning permission for a two-storey extension at the front of her detached house in Walton Avenue and a single-storey side extension despite objections by neighbours that it would cause loss of light and overlooking.

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