The world (and its weather) comes to Wheathampstead

PUBLISHED: 06:48 17 June 2011

11.06.11 Wheathampstead, UK; World Comes to Wheathampstead travel event.; Audrey Chapman and Marion Oxley from the Wheathampstead Community Group.

11.06.11 Wheathampstead, UK; World Comes to Wheathampstead travel event.; Audrey Chapman and Marion Oxley from the Wheathampstead Community Group.

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THE rain didn’t get in the way for the very first World Comes To Wheathampstead event last weekend, with more than 1,500 people braving the weather to attend.

The international exhibition for tourism, holidays, travel and leisure included such attractions as dancing and food and beer tasting from various countries including South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, Italy, Austria, India and Majorca.

The event was organised by Wheathampstead for Enterprising Business Group (WEB), following a successful business-to-business event in January and was held in the grounds behind the Memorial Hall in Marford Road.

Around 100 representatives from the travel industry and local businesses filled eight huge marquees and exhibitors flew in from all over the world to attend the event.

Peter Vezey, marketing consultant for the event, said: “The Wheathampstead Enterprising Business group is there for two reasons; first to promote local businesses taking part and also to put Wheathampstead well and truly on the map. There is nothing that brings holiday, travel, dancing and things like food tasting together in the county.”

He added: “There were people who gave out holiday advice and everyone enjoyed the day despite the rain. It was a classic English scene, with everyone walking around with their umbrellas.”

Kelly and Ryan Reynolds from Harpenden won the top prize of the day which included two economy flights to Johannesburg, two nights at Chitwa Chitwa luxury five-star game lodge, one night in at the Cornerstone lodge in Pretoria and a luxury two-night train journey from Pretoria to Cape Town, a holiday worth more than £5,000.

Local traders were unperturbed by the constant drizzle, and a team of three chefs from Brimark Butchers served roast pork rolls which sold out in two hours as a result of their popularity. Owner Mark said: “The weather may have been poor but the visitors’ appetites were unaffected – our barbecue food sold continuously from 11am-5pm.”

Both the Cherry Tree and Nihau Chinese restaurants also sold food continuously throughout the day while Chris Lewis, general manager of the Red Lion at Digswell Hill, Welwyn, served free canapés from under his umbrella. The Namibia stand provided free bottles of their famous Windhock beer to passers by and the Wicked Lady was giving out a range of food samples including roast beef and Yorkshire puddings.

Because the outdoor dance stage was deemed too dangerous for performances, international dancers moved into the Memorial Hall and played to packed out audiences of 200 people.

Claire Farley, committee team leader of 2 by 2 holidays said: “This was a tremendously successful project which raised over £3,000 for local charities and there will definitely be another one next year.”

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