THE REGION’S cider lovers are expected to descend on an award-winning pub this weekend.

The team behind The Crown Inn – in Manfield, near Darlington – will host their ninth annual cider festival from Friday, July 11 until Sunday, July 13.

This year, the festival will be held in celebration of the pub being named Darlington CAMRA’s Yorkshire Cider Pub of the Year.

The 18th century inn, on Vicars Lane, netted the accolade due to its commitment to selling a variety of real ciders and perry.

Landlord Peter Hynes, who has run the popular pub with his wife Karen for 14 years, said: “We’re very happy to win the award and were pleasantly surprised.

“We usually have a couple of real ciders on tap most of the time and perry too so I think it’s down to the diversity of cider we offer.

“Cider’s on the up in the licence trade and sales of it have increased hugely, above even the sales of lager – it’s on a par with real ale now.

“Our pub is also popular because of the quality of our beer and the friendliness of our customers who make everybody feel welcome.”

Around 14 ciders including Broad Oak Moonshine and Snailbank Summer Fruits will be on offer during the festival, which takes place on Friday between 5pm and 11.30pm, Saturday between noon and 11.30pm and Sunday from noon until 10.30pm.

The festival will also include refreshments provided by local suppliers and live music performances from acts including the Lounge Lizards and Playback.

A craft fair will run alongside the event on Saturday afternoon. To book a table or for more information about the festival, call 01325 374243.