Final preparations are in hand for the 2017 season on Folkestone Harbour Arm, with some outlets already trading and reporting brisk business.
The Harbour Arm has remained open for walking and fishing throughout the winter but closed occasionally when poor weather and rough seas make it dangerous.
Food and drink providers are now returning, with some businesses having opened at times during the colder months, notably 'Dockers', who have baked their speciality bread at least once a week and established a core and loyal following.
Like other outlets on the Harbour Arm they have local roots and have been encouraged to expand gradually as more people discover the Harbour Arm as a great new venue where they can eat, drink and buy local speciality items.
Over the next few weeks more of the favourite outlets will return, and by the end of March most will be open regularly at weekends, with extended opening hours during school holidays and in the peak summer months.
Opening patterns will also reflect demand, so that larger numbers of visitors will result in longer opening times for cafes and bars.
The Big Greek Bus
Harbour Arm Curator Diane Dever says: “From the outset we have made it a priority to create opportunities for local entrepreneurs to establish businesses on the Harbour Arm, so visitors will encounter no national chains or high street logos.
"Our outlets are often creators and makers, and we are proud that many of them have grown with us: Follies, for example is opening another new venue, this time in Hythe, to add to their small family of restaurants in Dover and Folkestone. Generally, the food and drink offer in Folkestone has become more and more successful.”
The Harbour Arm is free to access, and plenty of car parking is available on site. Entertainment is organised at weekends, with the emphasis on providing a platform for local musicians.
A crowded Harbour Arm in 2016
In 2016 the line-up included internationals such as Namvula, Grupo Lokito, and Bafula, as well as artists from closer to home, including Coco Lovers, Arcelia and Diane Dunn.
New developments for 2017 will see favourites 'That Burger' and 'The Big Greek Bus' introducing their own take on breakfast and 'Just Ribz’s' becoming a full-time trader.
'Cockles' will also expand its traditional offer, adding a new larger space and adding to its menu with a daily special soup and fish and seafood offered sushi-bar style.
Fresh fish will be simply treated; raw or smoked, soused or steamed, bringing Scandinavian, South American and Japanese influence into play, along with traditional methods of serving seafood.
The Harbour Arm team aims to bring more surprises and further choice during 2017. Up to the minute news on the music programme and activities will be provided on social media. Regular programme updates will be issued through the website and announcements in the press.
© Hawkinge Gazette and Channel Coast News 2003 -
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