Spirit of Harborough festival goes down well

Simon Brannon centre,of Two Birds gin with Peter Watling and Laura Watling during the The Spirit of Harborough gin school event.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Simon Brannon centre,of Two Birds gin with Peter Watling and Laura Watling during the The Spirit of Harborough gin school event. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
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The Bank Holiday weekend saw scores of people drinking in everything that the Harborough area has to offer!

The Spirit of Harborough event was a new festival to celebrate the finest locally produced wine, beer, gin and cider.

Rob Morton of Bottle Kicking Cider centre, with visitors Robin Avery and Alice Parker sample some cider and pork pie from sponsor Walkers.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Rob Morton of Bottle Kicking Cider centre, with visitors Robin Avery and Alice Parker sample some cider and pork pie from sponsor Walkers. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“For the first one, it went pretty well” said Harborough’s tourism executive Graham Peers. “It gives us a good base to work on for next year.”

The weekend began with a Taste Harborough Trail on Saturday.

Buy the leaflet with map for £3, and then you could sample the wares of eight local food centres, from Sarah Ruth Cupcakes on the market (cakes obviously) to the Farndon Fields Farm Shop (gin and tonic tartlets).

Then on Sunday, the drinks kicked in.

Simon Brannon of Two Birds gin during the The Spirit of Harborough gin school event.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Simon Brannon of Two Birds gin during the The Spirit of Harborough gin school event. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Activities included taste tours, tutorials by local artisan brewers and tours and demonstrations from local producers.

Guests bought tickets online or from “Spirit HQ” at the Oat Hill pub on Kettering Road, before boarding a tour bus to a local drinks attraction.

At Welland Valley Vineyard, near Marston Trussell, for example, guests got a guided tour of the vineyard with wine tasting of the red, white, and sparkling wines on offer.

Other visitors headed for Market Harborough Brewery for a talk on the beer production process, including a tasting across the road at The Beerhouse micropub.

David Bates of Welland Valley shows visitors one of his vines.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

David Bates of Welland Valley shows visitors one of his vines. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

More still found themselves at the Two Birds Gin School in Market Harborough.

Tours goers enjoyed a talk on the history of gin, along with the perfect Gin and Tonic and a gin distilling demonstration, along with tastings of four different gin types.

“The idea is to share news about our fantastic food and drink businesses” said Graham.

“And as the word gets around, the concept of this event beds in.”

David Bates of Welland Valley shows visitors around the vineyard.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

David Bates of Welland Valley shows visitors around the vineyard. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

It's all in the hops...Ivan Sheldrake and Simon Shepley of Market Harborough Brewery with Clair Atkins, Sarah Conway and John Conway during the Spirit of Harborough festival.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

It's all in the hops...Ivan Sheldrake and Simon Shepley of Market Harborough Brewery with Clair Atkins, Sarah Conway and John Conway during the Spirit of Harborough festival. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Visitors during the tour at Market Harborough brewery.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Visitors during the tour at Market Harborough brewery. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Right, Graham Peers Tourism Executive with another group ready for the Spirit of Harborough tour setting off from the Oat Hill.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Right, Graham Peers Tourism Executive with another group ready for the Spirit of Harborough tour setting off from the Oat Hill. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER