“The Winter Droving is an event steeped in tradition, with deep roots in the area’s agricultural practices,” explains Heather. Held on the weekend closest to the old festival of Samhain, which marked the end of the harvest season and the shortening of the days, the torchlight parade with its masked drovers leading the way through the town centre is putting Penrith on the map across the UK and around the world.
“We’re so pleased that Ast Signs is once again main sponsor for the event,” says Heather. “Ast Signs is hugely supportive and we really appreciate their contribution and their support for the event and the local area around Penrith.”
As main sponsor, Ast Signs was given the opportunity to decorate a main stage in the town centre. “We’re calling it the Ast Bandstand,” Heather tells us. It will feature a massive line-up of bands including Baab, Hadrian’s Union, Deatbeats, Windy Bottom Boys, Blast Furness and We are Quasars.
As sponsors, Ast Signs also has the chance each year to enter a team in the Drovers’ Cup, which features such traditional Cumbrian pursuits as hay bale racing, sausage eating, pint carrying, and of course, the tug-of-war.
“It’s a lot of fun, but it does get hugely competitive,” Heather warns. Indeed, the 2018 tug-of-war event is already heating up with Ast Signs and Cumbria Police exchanging taunts on social media. Inside word is that the Ast Signs team has been training hard.
“The droving is a major part of what puts Penrith on the map,” says Heather. “It helps make it vibrant and just a brilliant place to live. It also helps from a business perspective – it brings £1.2 million into the local economy and over 20,000 visitors to Penrith, making it the best day of the year for local pubs and restaurants.”
In 2018 the event will take place on Friday and Saturday 26th and 27th of October, with events to be held in both Penrith and Pooley Bridge. For more information visit www.winterdroving.co.uk.