Published: 13:54, 16 March 2022
| Updated: 09:08, 17 March 2022
Organisers of Faversham Hop Festival are toasting a new main sponsor whose support has guaranteed the welcome return of the popular event this year.
It follows an appeal to raise £10,000 needed to cover the cost of putting on the event, which fell £2,000 short of its target.
But now, Bridger's Law in the town has stepped in to help make up the difference, which together with a grant from the town council will see the revival of the weekend celebration of food, drink and music on September 3 and 4.
The festival has a history dating back three decades but had to be scrapped for two years during the pandemic, with some fearing it might never return.
Colin Jones, director of Community Heritage Events which is tasked with putting on the event, admits it was "touch and go" until he was sure the finances were in place.
"The fundraising appeal was a big success and this is testament to the enduring popularity of the festival," he said.
"We want to thank each and every person who responded to the appeal by donating a few pounds or considerably more."
The festival regularly attracts more than 20,000 visitors to the town, providing a huge economic boost for businesses.
"Now we have to crack on and get it ready but I'm hoping it will be the best hop festival ever," Mr Jones added.
Swale Borough Council is funding the website which is now open for applications for stallholders and bookings for campers.
Cabinet member for community Cllr Richard Palmer said: "The council is delighted to see the popular festival returning after a two-year break due to the pandemic.
"It remains an anchor event for the area and one that sees resident as well as visitor support from far and wide.
"With so much to see and do in Faversham, we know that many of the visitors to the Hop Festival return time and time throughout the year to enjoy the many experiences the town has to offer."
Senior partner Duane Bridger at Bridger’s Law added that the firm was delighted to support the event which is "so important to the viability of many Faversham businesses".
Long-term supporter Shepherd Neame is again backing the festival, along with other sponsors HatHats Coffee Company, Keiths Motors and TMS Automotive and the West Faversham Community Association.
Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame said: “The Faversham Hop Festival is a fantastic way of celebrating an intrinsic part of Kent’s heritage, and also provides a significant economic boost for our pubs, retailers and town as a whole, attracting thousands of visitors.
“After the unprecedented events of the past two years, it is more important than ever to bring people together, and we look forward to joining the celebrations.”