Thousands of pounds raised as Caledon village steps back to celebrate Georgian era
By Eleanor McGillie
A RURAL County Tyrone community in Caledon village literally took a step back in time last weekend to celebrate all things Georgian and to raise money for its two primary schools, playgroup and church hall.
Around 3,000 people gathered near the banks of the River Blackwater to take part in the Caledon Village Georgian Festival.
The event, which demonstrated how a small rural community can make a big impact economically and socially, was officially opened by The Earl of Caledon KCVO and attended by Terence Brannigan, the chairman of Tourism NI, local people and visitors.
Speaking at the event, Lord Caledon, said: “When I was first informed about the festival I thought it was a wonderful idea. The purpose of the festival is to help the village celebrate its natural and built heritage and also celebrate the people living and working locally, who contribute to the economy of the village and surrounding areas.
“Caledon is a village which is steeped in history but there is a lot of new growth in the village. Many young families are moving here and their children are attending our playgroup and our two primary schools. New businesses are operating from the village and new homes are being built.
“Steeped in historical context, Caledon village now has a growing population. Here, and, in the surrounding areas, there is a wealth of small and large rural businesses ranging from equestrian, agriculture, arts and crafts, media and PR, food and drink, experiential tourism led businesses, retail and more.
“The festival is about bringing all of these people together and using their skills to celebrate our village and celebrate everyone’s contribution to the community.”
Lord Caledon added: “This year is the year of food and drink in Northern Ireland and the courtyard behind this building is a demonstration of what can be achieved by food and drink producers.
“I would like to thank Terence Brannigan, the chairman of Tourism NI, for coming to our village to see how small communities can make a big impact.”
Along with marquees for arts, crafts and children’s activities, crowds enjoyed a walled food and drink courtyard.
Producers attending included Mac Ivors Cider Co, Digby’s Bar & Restaurant, Bellingham Cheese, Papa’s Cordials, Burren Balsamic, The National Trust, The Fluffy Meringue, Long Lane Pantry, vegetable farmer Henry Halligan and Glaslough Chocolate Company.
Speaking about the success of the festival, Sandra Mortimer from the Caledon Regeneration Partnership said: “We have raised £2,775 which means our two schools and playgroup each benefit from £925 which will help educate the children in our village. Over £700 was raised in Pam Morrow’s Vintage Tearoom which will be used to help maintain the village church hall.
“Caledon has a fantastic community. From a tourism perspective, we were delighted to welcome so many new people to the village. From an economic perspective, we are delighted with feedback from local traders in the village, and from food and drink producers, who mostly sold out of their products during the festival.”
A big thank you goes to Caledon Estates, Castle Leslie Estate, Tyrone Fuels, Donnelly Group and Pam Morrow at the village shop for all of the prizes.
Notes To Editor:
- For further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379 | mgmpr.co.uk | Food and Drink PR | Public Relations Northern Ireland | Public Relations UK | Brand Journalism UK | Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | Brand Journalism Experts | Tourism PR