Official research into the benefits of the Taste Cumbria food festival in Cockermouth has shown another huge boost to the county’s economy – and a big increase in visitors from across the county.
This year’s festival, which took place over the weekend of 23, 24 and 25 September, again attracted around 40,000 people to the town and researchers say the financial benefit to the local economy is estimated at £1,707,660.
Taking these figures into account, the return on investment is calculated at £21.34 – so, for each pound invested in the food festival, more than £21 was put back into the local economy.
The 2016 event included a producer’s market with 100 traders, a beer festival, a pop-up restaurant with Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan – who this week was named AA Chef of the Year – and loads of expert demonstrations and masterclasses. Olympian Jonathan Edwards was also in town in his role as whisky ambassador for the Lakes Distillery.
This year, the event attracted more people from outside of Allerdale than in 2015 – 50% were from elsewhere in Cumbria and 6% came from outside of the county. Everyone individual questioned gave the food festival a positive rating, up from 97% in 2015.
The event has a very loyal following – 82% of visitors said they had been before, up from 71% in 2015. 99% of respondents also said they would come to another similar event in the future, and the same percentage said they would recommend the event to others.
The benefit to Cockermouth businesses is significant too - 53% of those questioned said they would be eating and drinking in town over the course of the weekend, and 56% said they would go shopping. The vast majority of people had come to the town specifically for the festival – 72% of those people questioned by researchers.
Event organiser Marie Whitehead, Director of CN Events, said: “It is fantastic to see such positive feedback.
“Some of our traders have reported record-breaking takings over the weekend – The Coffee Kitchen, Hallsford Farm, Lakes Distillery and Fyne Fish are just a few of those who said their tills were ringing more loudly than ever before.
“I want to say a massive thank you to our chefs, traders, sponsors and supporters, particularly Allerdale Borough Council, Cockermouth Town Council, the Trout Hotel and the Lakes Distillery. Taste Cumbria wouldn’t happen without their help.”
Andy Walsh is a Taste Cumbria sponsor, chairman of the festival’s steering group and owner of The Coffee Kitchen and The Coffee Kitchen Bakery in Cockermouth. He said: “For the seventh year in succession, Cockermouth has hosted another fantastic festival. The weather wasn’t as good as the last couple of years but that didn’t seem to deter people - the streets were buzzing.
Taste Cumbria has a wealth of local partners. The 2016 festival is organised in association with Allerdale Borough Council and Cumbria Life, its main sponsors are Cockermouth Town Council, the Lakes Distillery and the Trout Hotel, and associate sponsors are Caterite, Cockermouth Kitchen Company, The Coffee Kitchen, Cumbria Tourism, Jennings Brewery, L’Enclume, Mitchells Auction Company, Robert Welch Designs and the Wood Hall luxury self-catering property.
Taste Cumbria Christmas event takes place in Cockermouth on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December.