TWO major New Forest events have confirmed their return this summer following the government announcement that live outdoor performances can take place.
Lymington Seafood Festival will run from Saturday 29th to Monday 31st August at Bath Road Park, and the following weekend the dog-lovers celebration Dogstival will be at Burley Park, 5th and 6th September.
Both events are run by Lymington-based Lighthouse Marketing, with organisers working closely with New Forest District Council and Hampshire police to ensure all coronavirus-compliant safety measures are in place.
The Lymington Seafood Festival has been expanded to a three-day event over August bank holiday weekend to better enable social distancing.
The previously-free festival will be ticketed this year to meet with track-and-trace requirements, and to help meet the costs associated with additional cleaning.
Tickets will be £5 for adults and free for children, with two sessions running on Saturday and Sunday from 11.30am to 3.30pm and 4pm to 8pm, followed by one 11.30am to 5pm session on the Monday. The 30-minute break between sessions will see a thorough cleaning of the toilets and other hard surfaces.
Capacity will be capped for all sessions, and the number of trade stands will be slightly reduced. The demonstration kitchen will be replaced by a pop-up fine-dining restaurant featuring cuisine prepared by guest chefs.
There will also be additional seating and more smaller bars to allow families or those in social bubbles to enjoy the day safely.
Lighthouse Marketing spokesperson Richard Nowell said: “Judging by the reaction on social media, locals are excited about the event going ahead. However, we also anticipate people coming from a little further away and spending both time and money into the local economy – a much-needed boost given the tough times businesses have had. We’re also pleased to give the hundreds of local and regional stallholders a chance to get their tills ringing.”
A week later thousands of animal lovers are set to descend on Burley Park to enjoy a day of canine activities, shows and demonstrations at Dogstival. Set within spacious grounds, the event will also feature hand sanitising stations across the site.
The main arena will feature entertainment from the Rockwood Display Team, working dog demonstrations with Stuart Barnes, the Dogstival Flyball Trophy and a fun dog show.
There will be a range of activities for dogs to try such as scent work, flyball, working dog scurries and an agility course with a difference – taking into account government guidelines on handling dogs.
TV vet Dr Scott Miller will host the Healthy Hound Den joined by leading New Forest vet physio Carlie Dixon and surgeon Michael Hamilton, a former colleague of TV’s The Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick.
The Dog House behaviour stage will host talks and demonstrations on training, and behaviour tips for owners led by Natalie Light. Other highlights include a giant K9 dog diving splash pool, live music and a vintage funfair. Tickets are £13.90 for adults, £5 for children aged six to 16, with under-sixes free of charge.
Richard said: “The events industry is diverse, and while large scale music festivals did not have a chance of being held this year, there are many other types of events that can take place safely and in line with government guidelines. As both events are outdoors, it adds to the level of public safety.”
“We will be investing in a wide range of health and safety measures that we see in pubs or at other attractions. This investment combined with a reduced capacity and the fact that, for various reasons, we’ve understandably lost some of our sponsors means for this year we have to make a nominal ticket charge to be commercially viable.”