Time does indeed fly. It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since the inaugural Crail Food Festival, where we basked in the sun and ate delicious, fresh, local produce. But what happened behind the scenes to make the event so successful, and what do the masters behind this ceremony have in store for us this year? I spoke to Susan McNaughton, Social Media Manager for the Crail Food Festival who shared her thoughts on the event.
Beautiful day 2011
You were involved in the Crail Food Festival last year, what made you want to be part of it again?
In 2010, a business group was set up in Crail to bring together local businesses who have interests in the village. Our company has owned a holiday cottage in Crail for 20 years now, so when I heard about the idea to launch a food festival, I was interested for several reasons. I was excited about launching something new which would extend the tourist season and build on other festivals which already run in the summer, such as the East Neuk Festival and the Crail Festival. The delicious food which is produced in Fife deserves to be celebrated, so a food festival seemed an ideal way to do that. At that time, I had launched a new business venture which was geared towards promoting festivals by using social media, and the opportunity to get involved was really exciting.
When I was asked to support the festival again, I agreed on the basis that I would train other members of the community in the ways of using social media. That teamed with fact that Graham Anderson is such an enthusiastic and inspirational person, it’s an honour to be helping out again. Oh, and did I mention the food? Yes, the chance to taste so much delicious produce may have swung it!
You helped to move the festival onto another level through the use of social media, what tools will you be using this year to help promote the festival?
It was thrilling to connect by building anticipation – we knew people would love this event! At the centre of our campaign will be our website, where we hope to integrate a magazine or blog section. This will allow us to raise awareness of local businesses and producers who are participating in the event. We’ll also be using Facebook and Twitter to communicate directly with both participants and those of you who will be attending the event. We’ll also be using more visuals – videos and photographs – to bring the experience to life before it even happens.
How do you think this year’s event will differ from the launch last year?
We learned a lot from our first year. All of our organisers are volunteers, so keeping the event to a 3-day festival is realistic. In keeping with last year, we’ll have the opening event on the Friday night, a supper, but we’re exploring a multi-cultural theme this year and planning comedy rather than music for the evening entertainment. On Saturday we’ll add in a celebration of the schools competition which we’re running in association with the Royal Highland Education Trust. There will also be a bake-off with local cafes competing – the theme will be summer berries. Alongside this, there will be a food market event with cookery demonstrations. The evening will come to a close with a musical supper and events in local hotels.
Sunday’s showcase event at the iconic Crail Harbour will have a wider variety of producers involved, with some new collaborations to bring different combinations together as well as more family fun on the beach.
Has your involvement in the festival created any further opportunities for you?
Yes, it has. My work with the Crail Food Festival attracted the attention of the Lammermuir Festival, a music based event which takes place in September in East Lothian, who asked me to help out with some work. With two case studies, I was then in a position to apply to work as part of a project team delivering training and assistance to festivals and events in the Scottish Borders. But it’s not only the opportunities which have come my way. I’ve also been able to encourage others to volunteer this year and we are hoping to offer work experience to those who participate in the event. This will hopefully equip them with the necessary tools to turn their voluntary work into paid employment.
Do you think a sense of community spirit is essential in making an event like this a success?
I have no doubt that coming together to work as a team within our local community was paramount in making the first ever event of its type in our village run smoothly. The success of the first event has meant that we now have a much wider pool of volunteers to draw upon – they want to be associated with the success again! A glorious sunny day last year really helped to entice people to visit the village of Crail, where they were met with a warm welcome. We hope they will return again and again because it’s a great place to relax, unwind and treat yourself to some delicious local food.
Posted by Chiara from Wine and Olives.