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Meet weekend set for return to the Demesnes

BARNARD Castle's annual Meet Weekend is due to return to the Demesnes next year.
If plans come to fruition, revellers can look forward to a wide range of activities, from music festivals and a community sports day and barbecue to a vintage car display and a kidzone marquee.
This follows a public meeting on Monday, September 5, when a feasibility plan to shift the event was presented by Meet board member Thom Robinson.
Meet Weekend activities, which traditionally take place over the May bank holiday weekend, have been centred around the castle for about five years after being moved away from the Demesnes.
The castle was chosen because it is enclosed and allowed for easier crowd control and ticketing.
Mr Robinson said: “The crux is the castle event, now the Demesnes event, has to subsidise the procession and it needs to make about £2,000.”
The plan is for a large marquee to be put on the Demesnes for a  music festival on the Sunday with the aim of attracting a larger paying audience by investing in bigger bands.
Mr Robinson added: “On the Monday we will have a local music festival for all local talent.”
Most of the remainder of activities and events around Meet weekend will be free.
Several traditional Meet events are to make a return, including a car boot sale on the rugby field which former Meet committee member Andy Wilsmore will be organising, and a community sports day and barbecue after the Saturday’s unofficial boat race.
Mr Robinson said: “We hope to invite all sports groups.
“It can be anything from a bowls trial to have a go at tennis. That still needs to be worked out, but it is free to anyone.”
Classic children’s events, such as egg and spoon races, are on the cards for the sports day.
Additional free peripheral events are being mapped out on an arena on the lower Demesnes, featuring dog shows, Scottish pipers and a possible Taekwondo display.
Volunteer Tom Deacon has been tasked with arranging a vintage vehicle display on the upper Demesnes and it is hoped some of these vehicles will take part in the Monday procession.
The procession itself, Mr Robinson said, would end on the upper Demesnes, allowing people to walk up and get a close look at the floats.
The Meet’s annual pet show is going ahead on the Sunday but a new addition will be a kidszone with activities such as circus skills and bubble making.
Mr Robinson said: “We want to create a space where kids can go and be left in a safe environment.”
The public meeting attracted a small crowd of about eight people, many of whom have agreed to help with the event.
Mr Robinson said: “It was pleasing to see some new faces at the meeting and they are keen and support the move to the Demesnes.”
The Meet board currently has five members and there is a position vacant.
Anyone interested in joining or would like to volunteer can contact Mr Robinson on 07826 854030 or email barnardcastlemeet@yahoo. co.uk.


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