The festival is organised by Harrogate Round Table and is an annual charity event raising funds for local charities and good causes and this year the chosen charities were Saint Michael’s Hospice, Carers’ Resource, Supporting Older People and children’s charity The Rainbow Fund.
The Harrogate & District Roundtable is nearly 50 years old and consists of a group of local men who get together to try to offer help to their community in and around Harrogate whilst having some fun at the same time. The two main fundraising events the Table organise are the Harrogate Bonfire on the Stray, now in its 44th year and the Harrogate Beer Festival now in its 28th year. As an organisation, the Round Table has been going just over 90 years and was founded in 1927.
The Beer Festival was on Friday 16th & Saturday 17th March. Thursday was the day we were to load in and typical of Yorkshire weather it rained solidly from first thing in the morning through to last thing at night, which didn’t help with the logistics. As beautiful as the Majestic Hotel is, our access point into the Hotel was up a flight of curved stone steps and an antique revolving wooden door. By the end of Thursday, I felt like Mr. Ben from the 70’s kid’s TV show.
Our indoor pitch for our stand was just through these doors and was a magnificent treat of lush carpeting and marble pillars. Our outside pitch was on the terrace complete with balustrades at the top of the steps and getting the flat bed BBQ in position was quite a feat in itself. The management and staff of the Hotel were totally amazing and helpful in every way.Friday was the first day of the beer festival with a Sponsor session from 2pm to 7pm followed by open doors from 7pm. This year’s key sponsors were Theakston’s Brewery, Daleside Brewery, Spirit of Harrogate Slingsby Gin, DJ Mark Green, FTAV, 9xb, Raworths Solicitors, HACS Group, Fishers Removals, GetPro, Myrings Estate Agent & of course, us, Crackerjack BBQ.
The ground floor of the hotel had been given over to the Beer festival with Bars in the Ball Room, the Dining Room and the Green Room offering an extensive range of Cask and Keg beers, Ciders, Wines, Prosecco and Gin. Our Menu was designed to complement these offerings and consisted of succulent pulled pork in BBQ sauce, aromatic Tandoori chicken wraps and golden deep fried chicken for the meat lovers. Delicate Soft Shell crab in Tempura batter and breaded plaice goujons (a posh fish finger sandwich) was available for those wanting something different and stuffed Portobello mushrooms with melted blue cheese was readily available for the non-meat eaters.
Day two and St. Patrick’s Day. Saturday arrived accompanied by the Beast from the East part II! Sleet, Snow storms and freezing temperatures. Thankfully this didn’t put off attendance and the beer festival was packed to the rafters in time for the kick off for the big screening of the Rugby NatWest Grand Slam 6 Nations England .vs. Ireland match. As all eyes were on the game, I sent out members of the team taking food to the spectator’s usherette style so they didn’t miss any of the game while satisfying their hunger pangs. Both evenings, entertainment was laid on with live music in the Ballroom and DJ Mark Green in the Green room. From bands to raves, all that dancing led to lots of hungry punters.
I was really proud of my team and we served over 1,600 festival guests over the two days. It was a fantastic event raising much needed funds while providing fine ales, fine foods and a fun time to over 2,500 attendees. Here’s to next year!