A CELEBRATION of all things local will be held at Oxford Castle next month.
The idea is to celebrate the richness of local producers, purveyors and performers based in Oxfordshire or one of the surrounding counties.
The event, due to take place on Saturday, September 15, and Sunday, September 16, replaces the former food and wine and flower and gardening festivals held at the castle.
It is hoped the event will provide an affordable platform for small independent businesses to join forces and showcase what they have to offer.
Castle Quarter events manager Sarah Mayhew said: “Oxford Castle Quarter has formed an intrinsic part of the city for centuries, but has only been open to the public for the last six years.
“It is a celebration for local people, by local people. It’s going to be a fantastic, fun-filled weekend.”
Already 50 stallholders have signed up, representing everything from jewellery to bakery to a chilli farm.
Thirty-one of those were from Oxfordshire itself. Local stallholders include Oxford Bake Off, the Little Goat Soap Company and McCarthy’s Fruit and Veg from the Covered Market. Gordon Piggott, of McCarthy’s, said: “It’s perfect for us because it does raise awareness of the Covered Market – there’s still a lot of people who don’t even know we exist.
“It’s great to see all the other local producers getting together. It doesn’t happen enough and when it does it’s usually about making money, whereas this event is also about raising the profile.
“Trading times are tough, so we need to do whatever we can to raise awareness.”
There are still a few spaces left.
Ms Mayhew said gaps were in the leisure field and is keen to hear from anyone in the leisure industry, for example gardening, who wanted to promote or sell items at the event.
It is anticipated as many as 10,000 people will attend the festival, which runs from 10am to 5pm on both days.
To ensure there is shelter in the event of bad weather, the majority of stalls will be under specially-erected marquees, with additional activities taking place in the O3 Gallery. Sandwiching the two days on Saturday night will be a special gig, Live and Unlocked, which is being supported by Oxford Mail music editor Tim Hughes, the line-up of which is yet to be announced.
Mr Hughes said: “The Oxford Mail has always been committed to supporting the best of local music and this unique night should help celebrate the best of local talent in a truly stunning location.
“This is the first time that acts of this calibre will have played in this singular Oxford landmark.
“It’s going to go down in history as a night to remember in the time-line of Oxford’s music scene.”
- For details about taking part, email stalls co-ordinator firstname.lastname@example.org