THE annual Kendal Wool Gathering, which celebrates the town’s connections to the trade on which its wealth was built, is to go ahead this year at a new home, it has been confirmed.
After its first four years at K Village the festival is to be held on October 28 and 29 at Kendal Leisure Centre.
“K Village has been tremendously supportive over our first few years and we would have struggled to get going without their help,” said KWG Chairman, Mike Glover. “But the festival has grown year on year, and we need to plan for its future.”
“We plan to have the same core activities that have proved so popular, with a farmers’ livestock marquee, a wool market, demonstrations, training sessions and knit and natter rooms,” he said.
The switch to Kendal Leisure Centre has been made possible with the help of a grant from Kendal Town Council, which is contributing £5,000 to the running and promotion costs in total. Councillor Clare Feeney-Johnson, chair of Kendal Town Council’s Festivals and Christmas Lights committee, said: “The council is pleased to support the wool gathering as it celebrates the heritage of the town and is a fabulous festival.”
Mr Glover added: “We are very grateful to the Town Council for its support. “Now the real work begins. We have already had expressions of interest from past and new stall-holders from all over the UK and even abroad. We will be talking to our partners to ensure the Gathering maintains its momentum in its new home.”
Letters go out this week (March 15) to all previous stall-holders to give them first chance to book.
The K Village connection is being maintained with the complex’s manager, Mandy Dixon, being elected vice-chair. The other organising committee members are secretary Cliff Dixon of CNJ Media and treasurer Christine Knipe, chief executive of Westmorland Agricultural Society.
Last year Kendal Wool Gathering attracted more than 7,000 visitors, about a third of whom said they came to the area specifically for the festival, boosting the local economy. There were more than 60 stalls selling everything from socks to carpets, spinning wheels to balls of wool.
“Kendal Wool Gathering has gone from strength to strength with numbers of exhibitors and visitors growing each year,” said chairman, Mike Glover. “It is obvious there is a huge interest in reviving the skills, crafts and products associated with wool and we want to encourage and facilitate people to take part.”