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East Coast Cider Festival coming this weekend

The move to a new location unlocks great possibilities for the festival moving forward
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The East Coast Cider Festival is back to delight Maritimers once again.

The annual event began in 2017, but missed two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone involved is excited to have this year's iteration move forward.

“This is a true showcase of Atlantic Canadian cider. We will have brands from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick,” said Alexander Henden, Chief Curator for Curated Food and Drink Magazine, who put on the event.

“We missed out on the last two years, but we're excited about this. We have moved from the Multipurpose Space at the Halifax Forum to the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront.”

The move to a new location unlocks great possibilities for the festival moving forward, says Henden.

“It's just a great location. We have a long-standing relationship with the Marriott from doing other events. It's right on the waterfront and represents a great location,” he said. “If it's sunny, we have the patios booked. It's a more elegant presentation. We loved the Forum, but this is a different vibe.”

The organizers do what they can to remove binge-drinking culture from their festival as well.

“It's a tasting event. You buy a ticket and get access to sampling. You get 12 sample tickets with your purchase, and you can then purchase more. But we decide whether folks need more,” he said.

“There was this culture of all-you-can-drink under two hours for the price of one ticket. We just want people to try new products, have fun, and not worry about trying to fit as much as they can in a two-and-a-half hour session.”

To that end, Henden says it was also important to them to have non-alcoholic options available at the event.

“Bulwark has one, and Maritime Express may as well. Then there's Viveau. It's technically not cider, but they have different juices with no alcohol,” he said.

“It's something we've been interested in pursuing as more products come to market. The Bulwark non-alcoholic is particularly excellent.”

The switch to the Marriott also affords some culinary opportunities to event-goers. Chef Trevor Simms will be on-hand serving up an all-vegan menu.

A food voucher is included with tickets, but additional food tickets can also be purchased at the event.

“We wanted to have lighter food fare with the cider. We didn't want people to get bogged down with heavier food. The best way to do it was a vegan menu,” he said.

“This was a good way to address the needs of vegan event-goers, and the menu is also gluten-free. Many who drink cider do so because is has no gluten. Trevor does great vegan dishes, and we wanted to do this.”

One thing that the Cider Festival has been big on following the pandemic is the number of people they will allow per tasting session.

“We will have less people at the venue this year. We are trying to keep things spacious, and keep safety in mind,” said Henden.

“We could put more than 650 people per session, but that's all we're aiming for. Previously we'd do 950 at the forum, but there are a lot of factors at play.”

Henden is pleased with the wealth of choice they'll have at the festival, and the amount of fantastic product in Atlantic Canada.

“I love everyone we're bringing in, and they are all exactly who we wanted. I'm pretty happy with all this. They're all local and they are high-quality,” he said.

“There are all different types as well. It can be dry or sweet, and there's plenty in between. This is a chance to try out different styles and find something you like.”

Henden knows people in the area have an affinity for the festival and its wares, and is happy to continue bringing it in.

“There is a strong community of people who truly enjoy cider. This is giving them a way to go out with their friends and experience this together,” he said.

To learn more about the event, visit eastcoastciderfest.ca.



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About the Author: Jordan Parker

Jordan Parker is a freelance journalist and runs entertainment firm Parker PR. He's been a movie nerd since he was old enough to walk.
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