A FAMILY favourite event has folded after nearly a quarter of a century entertaining many thousands of visitors.

Organisers have taken the difficult decision to bring the Holker Garden Festival to a close, so they can devote more time and energy to refreshing their annual programme. The magnificant floral marquees have been dismantled for the final time, after an incredible 24 years during which the event has become known as the ‘Chelsea of the North’.

First held in 1992, the festival has become an iconic feature of South Cumbria’s calendar.

Holker Group chairman, Lucy Cavendish, said: “The Garden Festival has been part of my life for many years, and I have many cherished memories, but horticultural and other outdoor events have proliferated in an already congested early summer season. This has put the festival’s long term prospects in jeopardy.

“We therefore took the view that it was better to end now on a high. On behalf of my family, may I offer our heartfelt thanks for the loyalty, hard work and commitment over the years, to those who made the garden festival what it was. It was a team effort and the support of those involved created 24 magical events”.

The garden festival was first inspired by the popularity of the Lakeland Rose Show and has attracted some of the UK’s top horticulturalists, nurseries and specialist growers. Its beautiful setting amid the Holker parkland, combined with the relaxed ‘garden-party’ atmosphere, made it unique.

Holker has hosted a huge variety of public events over the years, from horse trials and historic car shows to a hot air balloon festival. Its board of directors is now to focus on developing a fresh events programme for the 2017 season and beyond.

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