The excitement is palpable among the local folk of Knutsford and surrounding areas as they prepare for the town’s biggest event of the year which will be taking place during early September.LtoR Cllr Hayley Wells-Bradshaw, George Osborne MP, Cllr James Power, Rupert Wakefield, Heather Clawson.
Knutsford is to host its own Cycle Fest to coincide with The Tour of Britain passing through its streets on Tuesday 6 September. The Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event and a cornerstone of the sporting calendar as the country’s largest annual free-to-spectate sporting event.
Cycle Fest is designed as a free ‘pop-up festival’ for everyone to fully enjoy the Tour of Britain and also experience a flavour of just what Knutsford has to offer including numerous activities across the town.
Heather Clawson, location and event manager at TEM Events (part of Tatton Estate Management), came up with the idea of celebrating the Tour of Britain and, together with Event Buddha and Knutsford Town Council, TEM Events created a unique opportunity to showcase local businesses and entertain the anticipated 10 to 18,000 visitors to Knutsford on the day.
Event Buddha’s Rupert Wakefield is used to delivering large scale events: “We’ve worked on the Geronimo Festival at Tatton Park, The Royal International Air Tattoo and even Parklife Festival in Manchester, but being given the opportunity to work on an event aimed at community and business engagement in my home town is hugely exciting and a bit of an honour.”
The popularity of cycling is booming. As a result, The Tour of Britain will be not only be broadcast by the BBC and commercial channels, it will be transmitted live to around 116.6 million viewers in 129 countries across the world through Eurosport and ITV4.Alison Cunliffe of Real Fruit Creamery
The logo and flyer, donated by Emma Moore of Damsel in Design, has helped to raise the profile of the event. “I’m a Knutsfordian through and through,” explains Emma. “I try to get involved wherever I can by contributing design work that can help build a sense of excitement to events in the town. We will also be using the map of the town I designed and donated to the local Council so visitors can discover where retailers and eateries are on the day. Cycle Fest is such a fantastic opportunity not just for local business but the whole of the community to come together and celebrate such a momentous occasion.”Paul Bonner of Bikes-n-Gear
Paul Bonner of Knutsford’s Bikes ‘n’ Gear agrees: “I think the pop up village on The Heath with the big screen, food and drink stalls, secure cycle parking and quality local bike shops displaying some of the finest bikes from the best manufactures in the world, is surely the best place to take it all in.”
Vicky Jackson, who runs the local Makers Markets, will be organising the ‘pop-ups’ and The Heath will come alive with a whole host of stalls and activities incorporating local businesses and community groups. “I was only too happy to offer my expertise in stall management – TEM have always supported the Knutsford Makers Market by donating the use of the area in front of the Town Hall on market day. Mutual support is what it’s all about”
“It’s heartening to see so many people wanting to be involved,” says Heather. “Bentley are key sponsors, showcasing the new Bentayga model, along with the prototype carbon fibre bike they are working on in collaboration with Nick Fountain of Starley Bikes in Altrincham, and the Belle Époque are also joining us.”
“We have recently launched a new arm to our company, Belle Époque Bespoke Events and Catering” explains their operations director, Richard Walker. “We are keen to get our new venture out there to the public; working with such a prestigious brand as Bentley is a great platform.”
Alison Cunliffe of Real Fruit Creamery is a recent incumbent of Knutsford and welcomes the opportunity to attract visitors to the town. “I was fortunate enough to visit Hawes for the Tour de Yorkshire in 2014, which was an undisputed success. I was inspired by how local businesses and the community got involved, generating a real buzz to create an event that will last long in my memory.It is a fantastic opportunity for Knutsford to showcase our town’s unique character and history, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.”
“To help manage so many visitors,” continues Heather, “TEM Events will be opening up over 1,000 temporary car parking spaces in and around the town, along with a secure cycle park, which will ease congestion and help residents, businesses and visitors. Having just launched TEM Events, Ashley Hall Showground and our new Tatton Stays guest accommodation at Stock Farm, Ashley, it couldn’t come at a better and more exciting time.”
Henry Books, TEM Property Group’ s managing director, is delighted the event is proving so popular. “It’s a massive opportunity for Cheshire businesses to engage the thousands of visitors that will join us on the day and we are thrilled to be working with the Town Council, local firms and the hugely successful Makers Market team.”
Knutsford town councillor and chairman of the Tour of Britain sub-committee, James Power, who has been managing the ToB project with colleague councillor Hayley Wells-Bradshaw added: “We’ve been working with TEM Events and Event Buddha to create a free festival which will really showcase what Knutsford has to offer.
This is a truly historic event and the town will have an opportunity to celebrate its charm and history and style. We are so lucky to have had such strong engagement with the local businesses and residents and the excitement is building. Cycle Fest is going to be awesome.”
Richard Milkins, visitor economy development manager for Cheshire East Council, agreed: “The Cycle Fest will do a great job of extending the Tour of Britain to visitors who will enjoy coming to Knutsford for a fun day out for all the family. However, it is important to mention that anyone wishing to watch the end of the actual race will need to ensure they are in Tatton Park.”
Photography courtesy of Jonathan Farber©WA16PR