Marquee for Festival

New home for Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink

Ballantrae Community Council’s Development Group (BDG) exists to support local business, encourage tourism and develop unique events for local people, surrounding communities and visitors. It has established a number of very successful, high profile events and festivals including the Smugglers Festival, which has featured on ITV’s “Border Life” programme.

In 2015 the BDG established a food strategy group with a view to Ballantrae becoming a “food destination”.  Key elements of this strategy have been Farmers’ Markets in Craigiemains Home and Garden Centre and The Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink (BFFD) established in 2015, the Year of Food and Drink. The festival also contributes to the Ayrshire and Arran Tourism Plan and South Ayrshire Councils aspirations for community engagement and sustainable development. 

Following the success of the BFFD in the first year, in 2016, Carrick Futures made a grant of £10k towards the hire of the larger marquee, power and generators, tables, chairs and other equipment to help Ballantrae improve the customer experience of the Festival of Food & Drink by making it easier to move around and to see what was on sale at the various stalls. 

Susan Crosthwaite, Chair of the Food Strategy Group said, The larger marquee was a superb venue for the festival especially with the panoramic windows looking out over Ailsa Craig. There was much more room to move around.  Having the marquee means this important showcase event in South Ayrshire, which has considerable economic benefit for the wider community of Ayrshire can go ahead no matter what the weather.  Ballantrae and Carrick are becoming a hub for food tourism and we feel that this new marquee encouraged more producers to take part in the Food Festival.

Andy McAlpine, Secretary of the BDG added,” Without the grant of £10k from Carrick Futures, we wouldn’t have been able to make this important step change. While we do fundraise locally, the sum needed for a larger marquee to house the Festival was too high for local fundraising. There is no doubt that the money awarded by Carrick Futures towards the cost of hiring the larger marquee for the Festival in 2016, helped to improve the visitor and stallholder experience, and was partly responsible for the Festival receiving the Ayrshire Chamber Award for Food and Drink in 2016.  We look forward to the festival going from strength to strength in its new home. “

Harriet Ellis, from Colmonell who attended the Food Festival said, “What a fantastic marquee. It made all the difference and kept everyone cosy and dry.  What an amazing event for a wee place like Ballantrae.”