As the Holker Garden Festival reaches its 20th year, the Festival team takes a nostalgic look back at two decades of one of the north’s premier gardening events and shares 20 forgotten facts that have made the Festival a must see event in the summer calendar.
1. The first Festival was officially opened by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at 11am on Friday 5th June 1992.
2. The original title of the event was The Great Garden and Countryside Festival.
3. The very first Garden Festival took 18 months to organise.
4. 11,557 people visited in 1992 compared with over 23,000 visitors last year.
5. Approximately 80 exhibitors attended the first Festival but it now attracts over 300.
6. Last year’s ‘Stallions of Substance’ arena act also appeared onBritain’s Got Talent later in the year.
7. Around 9,000 cars are expected to be parked up during the event this year.
8. The nearest Festival exhibitor comes from Cark- in-Cartmel 1 mile away, with the furthest travelling over 300 miles from Cornwall.
9. During all the previous shows only one (in 2000) has been seriously affected by wet weather resulting in the final day being cancelled.
10. Work on the Festival starts 10 months in advance.
11. Set-up on the Park takes place from the first week in May (with the marking out, arrival of the marquees and then the construction of the Show Gardens.)
12. Sheep are kept in the Holker Parkland for as long as possible before the Festival to keep the grass short.
13. Several of our exhibitors also exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show held at the end of May.
14. Over 60 stewards are brought in to assist with the smooth running of the event.
15. Over the years, the Festival has been attended by many well known celebrities including Monty Don, Carol Klein, Clarissa Dickson Wright, Johnny Scott, Clive Hornby and Matt James.
16. There is a donkey grave complete with headstone, in a wooded area in the car park, this is known as Donkey Grave Wood.
17. Last year just under £6,000 was raised during the weekend for St Mary’s Hospice.
18. At the 2011 Festival C & K Jones launched a rose called ‘Always Remember Me’ as a tribute to PC Barker who died during theCumbria floods of 2009.
19. The event is regularly referred to as the ‘Chelsea of the North’.
20. Barrow Round Table has assisted with admissions since the very first Festival.
This spectacular three day event takes place from Friday 8th June to Sunday 10th June 2012 and offers something for all the family. Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast looking for a rare plant or a family wanting a fun packed day out, the Festival brings together the very best of gardening, countryside, food and crafts.
Opening times for the 2012 Holker Garden Festival are from 10.00am to 5.30pm. Entrance to the Holker Garden Festival is £15.00 for adults and £13.50 for seniors/students; discounts for advance bookings are available online. Children under 16 go free when accompanied by an adult. For more information or to buy advance tickets visit the website atwww.holkerfestival.co.uk or call 015395 58838.