ORGANISERS are putting the finishing touches to the 26th Northwich Beer and Drinks Festival, ahead of the opening night this Friday.

Guardian readers can pick up a free half pint of beer by collecting two tokens, printed in the September 12 and 19 editions, and taking them to the bar at Northwich Memorial Court.

The Friday evening session, from 6pm to 11pm, will see Tijuana Death Squad take to the stage before a quieter Saturday afternoon session from noon to 4pm. Saturday 7pm to 11pm will see music from Beavers.

Festival committee chairman Steve Wheat of the Rotary Club of Northwich Vale Royal said: “We’ve changed the focus this year to include more beers from a wider area.

“People attending last year told us they wanted the chance to try beers they couldn’t get locally, and so we’ve widened our search.

Northwich Guardian:

“We’ve also moved the location, and doubled the space, allocated to the gin bar. Last year we really had no idea gin was going to be so phenomenally popular. With over 20 gins, 50 beers, 20 ciders, bottles of lovely bubbly Prosecco, low-alcohol beers and soft drinks, we hope there’ll be something for everyone to enjoy.”

The festival is organised by Rotary in Northwich, with beer glass sponsorship coming from Club Class Taxis and Corkills Hyundai. More than 50 businesses and individual have sponsored barrels and bottles.

Steve added: “It’s an amazing community event and we’re looking forward to seeing old friends and new – all supporting the festival, raising funds for good causes and having a really great time.”

Next year’s festival committee chairman will be Peter Holland of the Rotary Club of Northwich, with preparations already underway.