Event bids to sail away with award

The Artisans Market will be in East Street on the Saturday, from 9am to 4pm Picture: David Sawyer
The Artisans Market will be in East Street on the Saturday, from 9am to 4pm Picture: David Sawyer

A FESTIVAL which celebrates life on the river which flows through its town has been nominated as the top tourism attraction of 2014.

The Shoreham Riverfest, which returned to the town for its second year last month, is one of the contenders for the hospitality, tourism and leisure gong in this year’s Adur and Worthing Business Awards.

From dragon boat racing to entertainment and a classic car show, the event has grown considerably this year.

Jim Cunliffe, of Face Media Group, who nominated the festival, said: “It’s quite a new festival in the area and it’s going to get bigger and bigger. It’s the start of something that’s going to be massive.

“This event isn’t organised by one committee but the committee acts as the hub for many different groups within the community.

“It’s a celebration of Shoreham and the river upon which it sits.”

The Riverfest idea was created by James Parker, from Suter’s Yard, with the celebration of the River Adur at the centre of the concept.

With the help of Adur District Council, the festival was launched last year.

The future responsibility will be on the town’s traders to develop and grow the event.

Councillor Mike Mendoza, who was involved in setting the festival up initially, said he was ‘thrilled’ it had been nominated.

He said: “I brought it to the council originally and I am thrilled that the business community has decided to pick it up and run with it.

“This year, it was bigger and better, with the dragon boat racing a particular highlight and most of the bars and restaurants putting on a musical event.”

The festival has a tough act to follow, after Worthing Birdman scooped the award last year.

The crazy flying competition impressed judges with its international coverage and ability to attract thousands to the seafront.

Run by the Town Centre Initiative, the town’s businesses work tirelessly to fund and organise the annual event.

Town centre manager Sharon Clarke said they would not nominate themselves for the award but hoped others would put them forward if they felt this year’s event worthy.

She said: “Just being nominated gives you a sense of achievement that somebody has taken time to appreciate what you are doing.

“When Birdman 2013 ended, I sat down and wondered how it would be beaten but this year we had more great coverage and the £10,000 jackpot was won.”

For details about the awards, email jeanette.hockley@jpress.co.uk