Food and Craft Fair returns to Antrim venues this July

COUNCIL is to give over £17,000 to Castle Mall and The Junction for the Northern Ireland Food and Craft Festival in July.

Council approved use of the Castle Gardens and Lough Shore, along with financial assistance of approximately £12,500 and in kind support to Castle Mall and The Junction, the event organisers for the inaugural event last year.

A proposal to deliver the event in 2022 has been received from the organisers, who have said that last year, there were 35,000 visitors over the three days, and 250 exhibitors.

There were 6,500 website visitors, 92,478 reached by social media, 292,434 social media impressions, 15.4 million reached in total online and a direct visitor spend of £523,300 at festival venues

It is proposed to run the event in 2022 from Friday July 1 to Sunday July 3 at The Junction, Market Square, Antrim Castle Gardens and Antrim Lough Shore Park.

Organisers also plan for the restaurants, bars and retail stores across Antrim and the surrounding area to join in with the festival with festival offers and their own special events.

A full meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is set to hear this week that organisers are requesting permission once again to hold events in both Antrim Castle Gardens and Antrim Lough Shore Park and for increased financial support of £17,400.

In addition, in kind support in the form of gazebos, waste collection, undertaking visitor surveys and provision of staff support as supplied in 2021 is also requested.

At the Antrim District Electoral Area Engagement Meeting in May, the proposal was considered and all elected members were in favour of supporting this event.

Council officers recommended that the requests be granted.

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