History will repeat itself as Wellingborough’s Medieval Festival returns this summer despite concerns over funding.
Wellingborough Business Improvement District (BID), the team tasked with bringing together retailers to encourage trade into the town, had not been planning to stage the event again due to last year’s event costing £29,000 and reports of a lack of benefit to some shopkeepers.
But following strong public feedback and pledges of extra funding, including from Wellingborough County Councillor Graham Lawman who represents the town centre ward, the family event has been given the go-ahead for the weekend of July 26 and 27.
John Cable, manager of the BID, said: “We have got pledges of additional funding, which has enabled us to guarantee this year’s event without the BID being exposed to such a big bill.
“As a management team, we have always been committed to the Medieval Festival, however, due to criticisms over costs and a reported lack of benefit to some of our benefactors, the town centre traders, it was initially decided not to hold the event this summer.
“However, the feedback we have so far received has been useful in gauging the appetite for a Medieval Festival this summer.”
Last year youngsters got the chance to fire bows and crossbows, musicians performed songs and a camp was set up in Croyland Gardens, while juggler extraordinaire Devilstick Peat and battle re-enactments also entertained the crowds.
There was also sword training, dance displays and falconry as well as a display of medieval food.
Sir David de Jarpanville and Lord Despenser resolved their dispute in battle as part of a plot to overturn King Edward IV.
The BID, which is paid for by town centre business, was re-elected this month and will now have an annual budget of about £200,000 to turn the town centre into the county’s leading shopping destination for independent retailers.
The organisation, through its Discover Wellingborough campaign, has been at the heart of a change in fortunes in the town centre with people earlier this year reporting an improved shopping experience in a survey.
As well as the high-profile events paid for by the organisation, it also provides a website directory, a mobile phone discount app and the recent Little Book of Offers.