'The show must go on', say retailers after food and drink ceremony cancelled (From St Albans & Harpenden Review)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting st albans to 80360, or email us
'The show must go on', say retailers after Food and Drinks Festival awards ceremony is cancelled
Businesses in St Albans have vowed "the show must go on" after it was announced the Food and Drinks Festival awards ceremony has been cancelled.
Yesterday, St Albans District Council announced the ceremony due to take place on October 3 will no longer take place due to poor ticket sales and a lack of support from the food and drink community.
Over the last few weeks a number of restaurants had withdrawn from the awards.
The awards will still go ahead, however the winning outlets will be crowned at the festival finale in St Peter’s Street on October 6.
Christo Tofalli, landlord at the Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, a nominee in the best pub category, said the show must go on.
Mr Tofalli said: "It is a great shame because we were all really looking forward to it.
"We have all worked really hard and put so much into it. We were looking forward to defending our title of Best Pub for another year.
"The council do quite a lot to boost tourism and now it isn’t going to be as sparkly as it should be, has been or would have been.
"We always have a brilliant evening and a good jolly up."
Despite the disappointment, Mr Tofalli said it wouldn’t dampen his spirits because he would instead organise an awards ceremony evening at the pub in Abbey Mill Lane on October 3.
He said: "Everyone had booked the evening off to celebrate, so we’ll just have the celebrations here.
"Win or lose, we will have the party here."
Richard Shwe, head of community services at the council, apologised to everyone who has so far bought tickets for the awards ceremony and offered a refund.
The Little Place has been nominated in the Best Local Restaurant category.
Alec Goodhand, co-owner and head chef at the Harpenden restaurant in Station Road was planning to go the awards ceremony.
Mr Goodhand said: "Although the awards ceremony is always good fun, from a business perspective the awards ceremony is not of importance.
"As long as winning businesses are still awarded and recognised for their efforts that should be the main thing."
The head chef at Freddie’s Restaurant in Adelaide Street, Joseph Abdalless, echoed this.
He said: "We have been working hard to get people to vote for us and so long as a winner is announced there is no problem."
Mike O’Flynn, sales and marketing manager at the Snug Bar, said: "We are a bit disappointed because we had already bought our tickets and organised our evening.
"However we have no resentment against the council. We are not particularly mad at them because we are glad that the new system of voting was changed and we see that, when it is tried for the first time there may be flaws.
"We support the Food and Drinks Festival and think it is a great idea. Next year I think we should all work together and businesses should be involved in helping assist the council with the creation of the festival.
"I would be more than happy to do that."
Mr O’Flynn added he liked the idea members of the public would see winners announced during the festival finale.
He said: "It will be more of a spectacle with everyone gathered around for the finale of the festival at the cookery theatre.
"It will be nice for members of the public to see winners announced rather than a closed off ceremony and them finding out about the winners later."
However, Chris Evans, owner of HATCH in The Maltings, said he was in the process of pulling out of the awards.
Mr Evans said: "It is all rather disappointing and we were in the process of pulling out.
"Everyone was pulling out for good reasons. We want to see it go back to how it used to be.
"It is a shame but if we sacrifice this year’s festival, hopefully next year will be a success."
The council has advised ticket holders, who have not provided them with their details, should present their tickets to the St Albans Tourist and Information Centre in Market Place for a full refund.
Comments are closed on this article.