More than just gouda times

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Did you know how the Sturminster Cheese Fest spreads generosity as much as it does the smell of Stinking Bishop?

The famous cheese festival at Sturminster Newton isn’t just about dairy produce – though cheese is of course reason enough for a festival in itself.
It is equally about the community and about charity.
Since the event was started by a group of townspeople in 1999, it has helped many charities and local groups to raise much-needed funds. The event has grown enormously since that first festival, but 25 years later it still remains on the recreation ground. Visitors have said that part of its charm is the size – it is easy to get around and see everything. Some visitors return year on year. Some even plan their holidays around it!

A team effort
The festival is still entirely organised by voluntary committee members, the majority coming from Sturminster Newton’s community groups and local organisations. They are assisted by the many volunteers who help with the setting up and breaking down, the fetching and carrying, those who man the gates and the thousand other things that go into making the event happen.
As a thank you, last year the Cheese Festival donated the grand sum of £15,200 to the groups which had helped the festival over the weekend.
As with most community organisations, the festival always needs more volunteers. Do you belong to a group or club which would be able to help over the weekend? If yes, the organisers would love to hear from you! Please email your details to: enquiries@cheesefestival.co.uk

The fest that gives back
Each year a small number of charities are invited to attend the event, at no cost to themselves. In 2023 these groups raised an estimated £8,000, helping them to help others in turn. These include SERO (raising money for Julia’s House), Sturminster Newton Men’s Shed, Rabbit Rescue and Shelter Box. Of the funds raised by the event itself, 100 per cent of any profit generated is donated by the Cheese Festival committee to help change lives within local communities.
Since 2012, more than £400,000 has been given to local charities and organisations, the vast majority of which are local to Sturminster Newton. In addition, the festival committee will also consider any ‘special circumstance’ application that is received during the year.
The 2024 Sturminster Cheese Festival will be held on the weekend of 14th-15th September. Save the date and look out for the Early Bird Tickets, on sale from June onwards.

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