WIRRAL’S popular food and drink festival will not take place next year unless sponsors step forward to save it.
Despite becoming a highlight of the borough’s tourism events the festival has run into trouble.
The organisers said although the festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors, the Bank Holiday event has struggled financially in recent years and needs sponsors to make it viable.
Andrew Pimbley, whose Claremont Farm, in Bebington, has hosted the festival for the last seven years, said although they remain keen to continue the event in 2013 they are now considering major changes to the event, including skipping next year and relaunching it in 2014.
Mr Pimbley, who was one of the original founders of the food festival, said issues including the festival finances and weather had forced the committee which runs the festival to have a re-think. He said: “It’s essential for the future of the event that we get sponsorship.
“We lost a lot of sponsors last year and we went into it needing two really good days but didn’t have the weather on our side.
“Even though we have been well supported and had a fantastic run for seven years, we are thinking of taking a year out to consider what direction we take the festival.”
The festival, which was set up and run by a team of dedicated volunteers, first took place in 2006 and quickly expanded to include events outside the main festival.
In 2012, it ran brewery tours, cheese and wine evenings and special producer and chef evenings throughout August with local restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs also putting on special promotional offers and menus.
The two main days of the festival, held at Claremont Farm, featured stalls from local food producers, chef demonstrations, beer tastings and a changing array of attractions for children.
Among the options being looked at for the future of the event are making it more of a “niche” festival and bringing it forward in the year so it does not compete with other events over the busy August bank holiday period.
Mr Pimbley said: “Another issue for us is many people are away during August, which means a lot of potential visitors can’t get to the event as well as making it difficult in terms of volunteers, and for producers.
“We still feel Wirral should have a celebration of the amazing local produce, but we need to consider how best to do it.”