AN ANNUAL beer festival will relocate to a new venue this year, to cope with its increased popularity.
Hampshire OctoberFest will be held at Basingstoke Sports and Social Club, in Fairfields Road, from October 3 to 5.
Ian Smith, director of Hampshire Museums and Galleries Trust, which organises Hampshire OctoberFest, said: “The event has grown year on year and the new site will cater for much larger numbers. This is one of the main reasons for the move of venue from its traditional base at Milestones Museum.
“It is more town centre based, within walking distance from both the bus and railway stations, and has parking right next door to the site, making the whole event more accessible.”
Hampshire OctoberFest will include a full music programme, more than 120 different beers on sale, a wine and cider bar plus a snowboard simulator and bucking bronco.
The 2014 event has also been moved to a week earlier than usual to tie in with the Basingstoke Half-Marathon on October 5 and a new national event called The Fun Palace, in which arts organisations open their doors for free family activities.
Mr Smith said: “It seemed to make sense to link all three events together to make it more of a weekend of celebration and promote the benefits of Basingstoke to a new audience.”
The new venue will also mean the organisers can deliver more family activities, including a bigger fun fair, go-karts, inflatable slides, assault course, pony rides and children’s petting farm.
The size and capacity of the main festival marquee will be increased, and there will be more craft and gift stalls for visitors to browse.
More than 30 bookings have already been made, including a graffiti artist, a double-decker bus hosting a fun photo booth and a beautician stall.
This year’s sponsor has been announced as Upham Brewery, based near Winchester, which will sponsor a second beer marquee, offering a more relaxed area with an alternative music programme and more seating.
Discounted tickets and other festival merchandise will be available online from July 1.
Updates will be available at hampshireoctoberfest.co.uk.