THE ASSEMBLY Hall in Melksham was packed with ale and cider drinkers over the weekend to celebrate the second Winter Ales, Cider and Sausage festival.
The festival, organised by the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust, first opened its doors to the public last year in the hall in Melksham Market Place. This year’s festival attracted 120 people to the hall to sample some of the best independently- brewed ales and ciders from across the county.
Dave Maloney, 62, of Bolts Croft in Chippenham, said: “Last year we had 84 people turn up when we were aiming for 100, this year we had the same target but 120 came which was great. We have had a lot of positive feedback from the festival, it is definitely something we would want to make a regular thing. In total we had 10 ales and four ciders, the majority of which came from within a 25 mile radius of Melksham. Our sausages were locally sourced from Newmans of Melksham, they were all gone by the time we were three quarters of an hour away from the end.”
The money from the festival will be put towards the restoration of the Wiltshire and Berkshire canal, specifically between Lacock and Melksham.
“We raised about £580 for the restoration project, which is why we organise the festival, to benefit the canal trust and its work. There is a horrible windy bit of road called Forest Lane which pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders use. We want to restore and reopen the towpath so it can be used by foot between Lacock and Melksham,” said Mr Maloney.
Although the event was aimed at ale and cider drinkers, Mr Maloney was happy to see some younger faces in the crowd, adding to a family atmosphere.
“Some people asked if we could bring children, as long as they are well behaved I said it would be okay. It was such a friendly event, all of the kids had activities to take part in while the parents could enjoy an ale or two. I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who came along and to Melksham Town Council who have supported the festival for the past two years,” added Mr Maloney.