Actor Ricky Tomlinson will officially open Clitheroe’s annual real ale festival on Friday, beginning two days of sampling some of the region’s finest brews.
The festival takes place on Friday and Saturday, May 17th and 18th to celebrate all things ale at its now-customary venue, the St Mary’s Centre, on Church Street. The official opening is set for 1-30 pm on Friday (doors open at 1 pm) and the festival will contine from noon on Saturday.
Now in its eighth year, the event is now run as a joint effort between the East Lancashire branch of the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) and the St Mary’s Centre. The two organisations have forged a strong partnership over the past few years and regard the beer festival as a major event on the calendar. Last year around 1,600 people attended over the two nights, happily draining 63 barrels of beer (70 pints per barrel) and 22 cartons of cider (20 litres per carton).
This year the festival will feature more than 80 ales and ciders and its theme is “Saints and Sinners”, with plenty of the beers reflecting this. There will of course be several beers brewed in East Lancashire and some newcomers as well. Once again the festival will host the Champion Beer of Britain (Mild category) competition for the North-west region, with the winner announced during the festival. Catherine Snelling, from the East Lancashire CAMRA branch, explained: “All CAMRA festivals promote traditional British beer but are also an important campaigning tool for us, especially in recruiting new members. If people are having a good time as a by-product of this then all the better!
“We have been fortunate to attract two major sponsors for the festival. The East Lancs Community Rail Partnership have offered to be the festival glass sponsor, while Daniel Thwaites PLC have sponsored the staff T-shirts. There are still opportunities to sponsor the beers available – please contact the St Mary’s Centre for details on 01200 425522.” Entry to the festival is £2 before 6 pm and £3 thereafter on each day. CAMRA members and NUS card holders can enter free of charge at all times. Live music is available on both nights, featuring The Blackjacks on Friday and the Witnesses on Saturday and the festival charity is Derian House Children’s Hospice.