Wellington Food Town is at a crossroads and under threat. The people who plan the event are stepping down after six years in charge and at the moment there is no clear leadership in place for the 2016 event in September this year.
Wellington District Rotary club are considering taking on the challenge and make a decision next week. “Our concern is whether we have the manpower and resources at present to do it properly,” said rotary president Symon Jeffery.
“There’s a unanimous view that it’s great for the town and would be great for Rotary. We’d want it to continue at its current very successful level.”
Last September an estimated 14,000 people visited the 10th year of the Food Town and enjoyed 70 stalls offering everything from local cheese to craft ales. The first Food Town event in 2005 took place in a marquee with a few stalls in the Conservative Club car park and has grown to become one of the most successful festivals in the town’s annual calendar.
“Both Donna Munson, the chair, and myself feel that we’re running out of steam a little after many years of involvement and that it needs fresh ideas and impetus to take it forward,” said Richard Coupe, responsible for food Town marketing and publicity.
There is a large body of volunteers, led by Jill Mitton, who make food Town happen on the day by manning barriers, liaising with stallholders, and stewarding visitors. The problem to be solved is over the planning and admin concerning road closures etc over the coming months.
Mr Coupe added that if it came to a crisis, he and Donna may be persuaded to give it another year – at the most. “It’s too important to the town to let it fail,” he said.
When the future of Food Town was discussed at Wellington Town council last week, many councillors spoke strongly about the need to keep Food Town running successfully as part of the town’s identity.