CROMER AND SHERINGHAM CRAB AND LOBSTER FESTIVAL
Norfolk County Council, UK, was invited to attend a the Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival with North Norfolk Tourism and two local community partnerships,
WHO WAS MEANT TO DO IT?
Visitors to the festival.
WHAT DID THEY DO?
The aim of the festival was to extend the visitor season, to raise the profile of local delicacies, to increase spending in the local economy and to improve the links between the twin communities.
Norfolk County Council attended the festival to raise the profile of Coast Alive and to promote the Cromer and Sheringham walks books.
HOW DID THEY DO IT?
Festival: The crab and lobster festival linked the two towns of Cromer and Sheringham and was a celebration of two local delicacies, the crab and the lobster. It included cookery demonstrations, taster sessions, specialist master classes and a month-long restaurant trail, starting the weekend of 21st and 22nd May 2011. The festival was organised by local tourist, business and voluntary community organisations, with the emphasis on raising the profile of local food and drink produce, encouraging people to ‘buy’ local, thus keeping down food miles.
Accompanying the crab and lobster festival was a Deckchair Art Trail. Local shops, schools, businesses, individuals and groups sponsored a chair and work with artists, schools and individuals to decorate deckchairs for display as part of a Grand Deckchair Trail. The deckchairs were listed in an ‘Art Trail’ leaflet and were auctioned for Charity in August.
Coast Alive participation: Following the launch of the Cromer and Sheringham walks booklet to small businesses earlier in the year (see separate summary), Norfolk County Council was invited to take part in the festival and to sponsor and decorate a deckchair to promote Coast Alive in the Art Trail. After the festival weekend, Cromer Tourist Information Centre hosted the deckchair and kept it on display throughout the summer, until it was auctioned for Charity at the end of the summer.
HOW MANY PARTICIPATED?
No data was available regarding the number of people who attended the 2 day festival.
480 out of 500 books were given out at the festival and estimated talked to 200 people.
DID IT WORK?
The Sunday event was well attended and successful both for Coast Alive and the event itself. Virtually all the walks books and Coast Alive information leaflets were distributed.
Coast Alive attended only the Sunday event rather than both days, due to poor communication with the organisers. This turned out to be for the best because there would not have been enough books for a second day.
WAS IT SUCCESSFUL?
The key objectives were met as follows:
For the organisers:
- This festival extended the visitor season by attracting a larger numbers of people to the towns over the weekend than would normally visit on a May weekend.
- The many cooking demonstrations from local chefs and local TV celebrities helped raise the profile of local delicacies, not just crab and lobster, but other food and drink produced in the area.
- The extra visitors during the weekend increased spending in the local economy by the fact that nearby cafes, shops, public houses were busier than they would have been without the festival.
- The dual location helped improve links between the two towns with shared events and joint fund raising for the RNLI (Royal NationalLifeboat Institution); important for the fishing boats for both towns.
- The event received good local TV, radio and newspaper coverage.
For Coast Alive
- The addition of the promotional deckchair helped raise the profile of Coast Alive; many people stopped to look at it and take photos of it as part of the deckchair trail.
- The Cromer and Sheringham walks books proved extremely popular with tourists, day visitors and local people alike; an information sheet on Coast Alive was inserted into each book.
- Of the 500 walks books at the event, approximately 480 were given away on the day.
- The deckchair remained displayed at the Tourist Information Centre throughout the summer, continuing to promote the local walks books.
Coast Alive was only a small part in this local event. It demonstrated that attending events in the area where the books are distributed is extremely useful, particularly when compared with attending larger events further away.
Many people who attended already knew about the walks books and had been using them, demonstrating that promoting the Cromer and Sheringham book via local accommodation providers is working (see quotes below from visitors). Examples of conversations with people included:
- Several visitors staying in hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks said they had been using the books earlier in the week and had done some of the walks – demonstrating that the aim of targeting local accommodation providers works.
- Someone turned up with a copy of the (well used) book in their hand; they lived in Norwich and praised the book, particularly the maps, saying that they are working their way through it every time they visit the area and confirming that their day out includes lunch in a pub after their walks. They had just walked one of the routes in the book before visiting the festival.
- Many people who picked up the book said they regularly come to the area and are always looking for new places to go – on leafing through the book, despite the fact that they thought they knew the area, they still found undiscovered places they would like to visit.
- When asked, the vast majority of people said that meals out or light refreshments were an essential part of their walk.
- When asked, a few visitors used public transport (particularly the Coast Hopper bus) to get to some of the walks, although the majority had driven by car to the Crab and Lobster Festival that day.