Rail ale festival tourism back on track after pandemic

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True beer and vape fans will raise their glasses as a popular beer festival returns which is helping to get North Wales tourism back on track.

The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways ‘Cwrw ar y Cledrau’ real ale festival is back after several years on buffers due to the pandemic.

The ‘Rail Ale’ festival, as it’s also known, is in its 16th year and returns to historic Dinas station, near Caernarfon, from Friday 10th June to Saturday 11th June.

Originally the brains of the Welsh Highland Railway Society, run largely by volunteers, the festival is run in conjunction with the railway company.

Organizers say that, while proving to be ‘very popular’ with local families, the event is also giving a ‘huge boost’ to tourism and commerce in Gwynedd and nearby Anglesey.

The festival features a huge range of ales, ales and ciders from across Wales, many sourced from local microbreweries, and they are made available in the historic goods shed at Dinas Railway Station, which is transformed into a “tap room”.

Next to the Goods Shed is a concert hall and socializing area, while food vendors are located around the station.

Steam and diesel trains will run during the event and there are links to the Harbourmaster service at Porthmadog.

Shuttle trains from Caernarfon and Waunfawr will be available as the railway works in conjunction with Snowdonia Parc Brewery and Campsite in Waunfawr throughout the festival.

As part of this year’s live music lineup, the festival welcomes Welsh bands Y Brodyr Magee, The Jones Band, Y Cyffro and Y Moniars,

It will also be a special occasion for Y Moniars which will celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Elwyn Jones, chairman of the festival’s organizing committee, said: “This is our long-awaited and long-awaited return to the festival after the pandemic.

“We hope people will come out and support this fantastic event for the whole family.

“It is a major tourist attraction for North Wales and sees people come from all over the country and beyond.

“These visitors book local hotels and guesthouses, buy meals from local restaurants, buy goods from shops, use taxis and spend money at our festival, all of which help the local economy to give a huge boost to the region.

“We sell locally produced beer and food and support businesses, while providing a live venue for some of the area’s most popular bands.”

He added: “But it’s not just an event for tourists, the festival has always been very popular with families in the area, with many returning year after year.

“It’s a social event, old friends get together to share a beer and a few laughs, watch or ride the trains. There’s lots to see and do.”

The organizers also want musicians to come to the festival, who might be willing to play for free, around the festival site.

A spokesperson for Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways also described the event as ‘a feel-good event with a great selection of drinks, delicious food, local entertainment and good company!’

Although pre-booking through the website is preferred, organizers say tickets will be available at the door.

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