‘It is not like the real thing’ - Virtual beer festival running to keep interest

Head of the organisers of the Fakenham beer and gin festival, Mark Banham. Picture: Mark Banham

Head of the organisers of the Fakenham beer and gin festival, Mark Banham. Picture: Mark Banham - Credit: Archant

Organisers of a beer festival who were forced to put it on hold due to the pandemic are hoping their virtual event will capture people’s interest.

Fakenham Beer Festival is normally held at the town's Community Centre. In 2012 they had special pin

Fakenham Beer Festival is normally held at the town's Community Centre. In 2012 they had special pint glasses sponsored by Aldiss is Lisa Smerdon. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Fakenham’s beer and gin festival was due to take place in March at the town’s community centre but was cancelled following the announcement of the lockdown. The festival which is in its ninth year is now preparing to host a virtual event starting on October 9.

The event, which will run over 10 days, will encourage people to engage with the organisers on social media to keep the community spirit alive.

With their sponsors making their donations and with the struggles that have faced local brewers over the last six months, the group that runs the festival wanted to do something to support those who have helped them.

Head of the organisers is Mark Banham, 53 from Fakenham. He runs a team of six, plus the dozens of volunteers who would help on the day.

A selection of beers that the ten day virtual Fakenham beer amd gin festival is featuring. Picture:

A selection of beers that the ten day virtual Fakenham beer amd gin festival is featuring. Picture: Mark Banham - Credit: Archant


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Mr Banham has been in charge for the last three years.

He said they wanted to keep running despite the clear difference in the events.

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“It is not like the real thing, but we are still doing it to keep the interest going,” he said.

“It is really hard, the festival is such a lovely thing as the people are there sharing a similar interest and sharing new beers and unfortunately a beer festival would not work with the restrictions.

Live music is a staple of the Fakenham beer festival. This year sadly there will be none. Pictures:

Live music is a staple of the Fakenham beer festival. This year sadly there will be none. Pictures: Glen Mallett - Credit: Archant

“It is really sad that we cannot run it at the moment.”

The virtual event will have daily posts of promotions for the sponsor associated with the featured beer of the day.

They will also run a daily blog for the sponsors and the beer telling people where they can get the drink.

The event is also used to help raise money for the town’s community centre.

Mr Banham hopes they can go ahead with the festival next year, but there is still some uncertainty.

“It is up in the air, like most things at the moment it is uncertain,” he said.

“Hopefully after the winter, measures are lifted and we can reschedule for later in the year when things are easing up.

“We have a lot of plans we can carry over from this year. “Getting hold of the beer would not be a problem.”

The event kicks off October 9, more details can be found here.

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