- FARMERS' DELIGHT WITH FIRST MARKET
- Southport's first outdoor Farmers' Market has been hailed a huge success.
And already it is the biggest in the North West attracting 38 stalls selling a wide range of produce much to the delight of the constant stream of visitors, at its peak about 3,000 customers passing through the street.
Perfect weather helped draw the crowds some of whom had started to queue around King Street/Market Street well over an hour before the market opened.
Bill Asbury, Southport's Business Village manager, said:- "At 9 o clock it was hard to keep people out. We have been delighted with the response as this is the first step in a long-term desire to regenerate this area around the indoor market."
The Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Anthony Hill toured the marketing meeting stallholders. He said:-
"It is a super spring day for the Southport Farmers' Market. There is a wonderful, lively atmosphere. People are enthusiastic about the range of produce on sale and I am sure it will be good for Southport and bring many more people into the town."
And the stallholders were delighted too. Some even sold out just two hours into trading and had to make calls for extra stock to be brought in.
Kerry McNickle, of Weatheroak Ostrich Farm in Weeton near Preston, said:-
"It's been brilliant. We'll definitely be here next month but with more stock as we've nearly sold out. Normally you go to new markets and people just come and look here they have just bought. It's really super - a good location and a good day to go with it."
Stalls included a wide range of specialty food such as every type of sausage even kangaroo, herbs and herbal products, venison, home made ice cream, non alcoholic wine, buffalo cheese, black beef, seasonal preserves and cookies on a stick.
It is anticipated Southport Farmers' Market will take place the last Thursday of the month and will operate from 10am until 3pm. It has received backing from Sefton Health Authority, Southport and Formby Primary Care Trust,
Neighborhood Renewal Fund, North West Fine Foods Ltd., Sefton Council and Central Southport Partnership.
Chris Bibby from Community Markets Ltd., which is operating the market for Sefton Council,
said:- "It has been brilliant and already the biggest in the North West. I was walking through the market with two elderly ladies and they said it looked just like Petticoat Lane. That made my day."
- Photograph by roving-eye
and article by Julia Brough.
LIFT-OFF WITH LAUNCH OF SPACE-AGE
Southport has staked its claim to be the country's leading high-tech conference destination with a range of 21st century facilities just launched at the largest conference exhibition in Europe.
Members of the Tourism Division's conference and sales section attended International Confex 2002 to unveil the new technology, which is already helping to generate new conference business for the town.
Southport is now the first resort in the country to use sophisticated video links between the town's conference venues and to offer virtual tours by email. The technology comes from the NASA space
center where it was developed for remote viewing in outer space.
Tourism officers say the 21st century facilities launched at the exhibition and the presentation of the stand and members of the conference team generated many new leads during the three-day event.
With £88,000 European Regional Development Fund backing through
Merseyside Objective One programmed, the conference and sales section has also been able to buy new ITC equipment and sales specific software, exhibition furniture and give-always, exhibition display boards and stylish uniforms for members of the team for events.
Lord Fearn, Sefton's Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Tourism,
said:- "The exhibition was a huge success and, bearing in mind the average conference generates half a million pounds towards the town's local economy, the interest expressed by conference
organizers at the event will undoubtedly lead to more conference business for Southport."
"The whole operation was extremely professional - the stand and displays were very impressive and the conference team looked very businesslike in their uniforms. They were great ambassadors for Southport and the new facilities will boost our growing reputation as the country's leading high-tech conference destination."
The new advances in technology include destination-wide video conferencing which will link the main venues around the town. The link-up means 1,500 extra delegates will be able to watch the total conference on top of the 1,600 capacity at the main Southport Theatre.
Sefton's conference division will also be able to use email images to give conference
organizers virtual 360-degree tours of the main venues.
The high quality images will provide room plans and dimensions and also town maps and scenes from around the resort including Lord Street and the revamped seafront.
To compliment the e-images the division has also produced a business card CD that will hold the same images as well as information on attractions in the town and surrounding area.
Article by Julia Brough.
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