Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF)
Martin Walker

Member Article

Stockton businesses expecting festival boost

Businesses in Stockton are hoping for a timely boost when a popular annual event takes place next week.

Stockton’s retailers are expecting more than 70,000 visitors through the town for the annual Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF), from Thursday August 1 to Sunday August 4.

Shops such as Chocs Away in Silver Street which specialises in sweets and lollies sells the same amount during SIRF as the run up to the festive season, with customers still spending money at 11pm.

Tracy Hart, who set up Chocs Away from the launch pad of Stockton Council’s Enterprise Arcade, sees SIRF as a great boost for the local economy.

She said: “SIRF is a fantastic opportunity for me to sell my sweets on a really grand scale.

“I literally have to lock the doors to stop people coming in, after being open for 18 hours. The SIRF days are long but you need to stay open and work hard to reap the benefits.”

Last year Tracy’s shop was virtually empty by the end of SIRF. She had sold 2,000 sweet cones, 400 mega lollies, 360 marshmallow lollies and had only six packets of her American sweet range left on the shelves.

Councillor Mike Smith, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, said: “Our local businesses are extremely supportive of SIRF and welcome our visitors with open arms.

“People travel from all over the country and even other parts of Europe to see our shows and it is great that the local retailers are so friendly.”

Councillor Ken Dixon, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, added: “We have an outstanding selection of the very best in street theatre this year.

“SIRF promises to be just as spectacular and innovative in its 26th year as it was in its first year, with 16 newly commissioned shows and award-winning theatre companies.”

Local food businesses and entrepreneurs also have the opportunity to promote themselves and sell their produce at SIRF’s ‘Grub on the Green’ at Trinity Green, just off the High Street, in the heart of the performance areas.

Businesses with stalls on the Saturday include Coffee Supreme, Pizzaloco, Cultures Café, Mohujos and Dec-a-Cake and on Sunday, 4 August, Coffee Rush, Pizzaloco, Cultures Café, Dec-a-Cake and Streetwrap will have stalls.

The overall preparations by the SIRF team are now well underway with seven stage managers, 15 crew members, 60 stewards, 600 panels of heras fencing and two kilometres of cable all ready to make the festival go smoothly.

It takes five days to build the festival stages and technical equipment and three days to take it down.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Martin Walker .

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