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Plan to make Bishop Auckland Food Festival best yet
ORGANISERS behind a popular food festival are looking to play on the strengths of previous events to stop it losing money and transform it into one of the region’s “iconic” events.
Durham County Council has taken control of Bishop Auckland Food Festival ahead of next April’s event, after this year’s two-day attraction, which was run by Visit County Durham, made a £70,000 deficit.
The plan is to use suggestions made by visitors this year, together with popular parts of previous years to relaunch it and cement its place on the food festival map.
This year it attracted about 35,000 people and it had an estimated £525,500 economic benefit to the town.
It was the first time it had been held as a two-day event and organisers are still yet to confirm whether it will be a one or two day festival, although it will continue to be free.
Speaking at a meeting of Bishop Auckland Town Council this week, John Thirlbeck, of Durham County Council’s corporate events team, said: “There is very little difference between holding a one or two day event in terms of cost or number of visitors.
“We want to take it back to where we were a few years ago. I am quite looking forward to 2014.
“I think we can use the best bits of 2013, put in bits of previous years and together with the right weather I think we will have an iconic event.”
“Durham County Council is committed to developing and ensuring its continued success and raise the profile of Bishop Auckland.”
There are talks already taking place with Auckland Castle and Mr Thirlbeck said priority would be given to local and regional traders.
Councillor Lee Brownson said: “We never thought the festival where it is and Durham County Council is going to take it to the next level. We can’t afford to lose it in the town.”
Councillor Sam Zair added: “It clearly didn’t work this year but it is back in the right hands. We cannot afford not to support this.”
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