The Caledon Village Georgian Festival

By ELEANOR MCGILLIE 9 October, 2016

A RURAL County Tyrone community literally took a step back in time last weekend to celebrate all things Georgian at the first ever Caledon Village Georgian Festival. We were delighted to be involved in organising this event which attracted around 3,000 people.

We all know that tourism in Northern Ireland is a key to our economic growth. Every single tourism provider makes their mark so it’s important to help and support these businesses as much as possible.

That’s why, at the first ever Caledon Village Georgian Festival we decided to keep it as local as local can be.

BLOG - The Caledon Village Georgian Festival - The Fluffy Meringue

The event was also used to showcase how a community of this size can pull together to organise an absolutely fantastic tourism event.

Around 3,000 people gathered near the banks of the River Blackwater to take part in the Caledon Village Georgian Festival – an event which was officially opened by The Earl of Caledon KCVO, local people and visitors.

BLOG - The Caledon Village Georgian Festival - Lord Caledon visits Burren Balsamics

Speaking at the event, Lord Caledon, said: “When I was first informed about the festival I thought it was a wonderful idea. The purpose of the festival is to help the village celebrate its natural and built heritage and also celebrate the people living and working locally, who contribute to the economy of the village and surrounding areas.

“Caledon is a village which is steeped in history but there is a lot of new growth in the village. Many young families are moving here and their children are attending our playgroup and our two primary schools. New businesses are operating from the village and new homes are being built.

“Steeped in historical context, Caledon village now has a growing population. Here, and, in the surrounding areas, there is a wealth of small and large rural businesses ranging from equestrian, agriculture, arts and crafts, media and PR, food and drink, experiential tourism led businesses, retail and more.

BLOG - Caledon Village Georgian Festival welcomed Trish from the Glaslough Chocolate Company

“The festival is about bringing all of these people together and using their skills to celebrate our village and celebrate everyone’s contribution to the community.”

Lord Caledon added: “This year is the year of food and drink in Northern Ireland and the courtyard behind this building is a demonstration of what can be achieved by food and drink producers.

Along with marquees for arts, crafts and children’s activities, crowds enjoyed a walled food and drink courtyard.

BLOG - The Caledon Village Georgian Festival welcomes the National Trust NI

Food and drink producers from Northern Ireland attending included Mac Ivors Cider Co, Digby’s Bar & Restaurant, Bellingham Cheese, Papa’s Cordials, Burren Balsamic, The National Trust, The Fluffy Meringue, Long Lane Pantry, vegetable farmer Henry Halligan and Glaslough Chocolate Company.

BLOG - The Caledon Village Georgian Festival launch

Speaking about the success of the festival, Sandra Mortimer from the Caledon Regeneration Partnership said: “We have raised £2,775 which means our two schools and playgroup each benefit from £925 which will help educate the children in our village. Over £700 was raised in Pam Morrow’s Vintage Tearoom which will be used to help maintain the village church hall.

“Caledon has a fantastic community. From a tourism perspective, we were delighted to welcome so many new people to the village. From an economic perspective, we are delighted with feedback from local traders in the village, and from food and drink producers, who mostly sold out of their products during the festival.”

BLOG - The Caledon Village Georgian Festival - Lord Caledon and Terence Brannigan, chairman of Tourism NI, enjoy the produce at the Caledon Village Georgian Festival

A big thank you goes to Caledon Estates, Digby’s Bar & Restaurant, Castle Leslie Estate, Tyrone Fuels, Donnelly Group and Pam Morrow at the village shop for all of the prizes.

Live It Experience It’ is a group of journalists and travel writers who tell the story of our members. We work  collaboratively with our members, which are tourism businesses, to promote Northern Ireland through water, air and land based activities, food and drink and great places to stay. Together we let our visitors know of all of the amazing things Northern Ireland has to offer.  To become a member business in of ‘Live It Experience It’ call our office on 028 3756 8436 or please submit your information through our online form. T&Cs apply –  Sign Up Here Let us tell your story! Live It Experience It is the NW200 tourism partner for 2018. 

Live It Experience It is a cluster of tourism businesses working together to promote Northern Ireland through activities, great places to stay and great food and drink

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Eleanor McGillie

About Eleanor McGillie

Eleanor spent eight years working in the south west of England - one of the UK's most popular tourism hotspots. During her stint working with key players in the tourism sector she developed a love for all things outdoor adventure. As a journalist she got to travel to remote corners of the world to write travel features about the experiences of a particular place. Northern Ireland's story needs to be told and needs to reach new audiences. Live It Experience It aims to attract tourists from outside Ireland, people from Ireland and people who live in Northern Ireland but aren't aware of the extent of the adventures on our own doorsteps. Eleanor is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) at Associate Level