Ecotourism, Guest Writers, Handcrafted, Locally produced
Comment 1


As last Summer ended and the nights started drawing in we had one last family day out planned, after having been being recommended by friends, we set out North to Kirkleatham in Redcar, the home of the Festival of Thrift. We had heard that it was unique and a great day with lots of interactive things to do. The sustainable theme was right up our street and as it was a winner of the  2015 observer ethical award we were intrigued…

We didn’t need a ticket as it was free, we knew from the website that there was a £5 parking fee so we had that at the ready and off we went. It was easy to find and even easier to park and before we knew it we were on site and basking in September sunshine with the most heavenly smells wafting through the air. The first impression was one of pure amazement. How did we not know of this event before now and how would we fit everything into a day? Every step we took was simply fascinating!

We started the day with good old fashioned Den Building, it was hard to give ours up and walk away but the main stage beckoned with a busy programme of live music as well as my favourite, OxGlam  a catwalk show using only donated clothes. The main stage was right beside the SwapShop – where you can take your unwanted clothes, and swap for things you did want- genius!  I have already started putting my bag of clothes for this year so I can swap to my heart’s content.

FOT 16 - Media Sat-23

My husband picked a talk to attend while I took the kids screen printing. Me and the kids also hitched a ride on the LifeBoat, the slowest ride in the world, where you get into a hammock (I had to share mine with the smallest) whilst been gently rocked, spun and told a fab story.

On the way to get some food we stumbled across an interactive jukebox made out of a port aloo with a real live DJ inside.  (yes, this should be in every pub in the U.K).   The food offer was spot on, with lots of stalls to choose from but we were lucky enough to get a seat at the communal meal ‘Redcar – the Town is the Menu’ a huge table, covered in sunflowers in the middle of the grassed walled garden. It was great value and delicious. I’ve heard that the organisers are planning on another communal meal for 2017 so my top tip is to get yourself a ticket sooner rather than later. In fact there were a few ticketed events so we have signed up to the newsletter so we don’t miss out.

FOT 16 - Sunday Media-163

Once suitably refreshed I sneaked some shopping in and bagged a few ethical gifts for Christmas, while the boys went off to play Massive Battleships.  We ended the day with some upcycling workshops on a double decker bus, where we were taught how to use electrical power tools, which gave us a boost in confidence, we can do these things!

We loved Festival of Thrift, it was the right combination of fun, interaction, learning and goodness. The site is spacious and an attraction in its own right, we shall be back in 2017 but this time we are visiting for both days and staying overnight, as this gem of a festival also sits on the beautiful North-East Coast!

FOT 16 - Sat - Media size-91

Tell me more!

As with all good festivals the folk behind it are still busy planning a barrel load of fun and entertainment for 2017 but just to let you know…  

  • It runs Saturday 23 – Sunday 24 September 2017 10am – 5pm 
  • Festival entry is FREE and parking is £5 – so fill up your car!
  • There’ll be a main stage with music, entertainment and of course, OxGlam featuring retro, recycled and upcycled outfits all donated and fabulous!
  • Den building – hammers, nails, wood and saws all provide.
  • Surprising food and drink, Jamalittle (for kids) and Jamallot jam and chutney making  workshops as well as Bistro du Van, dining rooms in camper vans and the community meal.
  • Learn how to in crafting workshops and demonstrations
  • Talks, debates and art installations
  • Thrifty shopping with over 100 stalls selling all manner of thrifty, upcycled and recycled goods

Top Tips

  • Look at the website before you go and find out what you need to bring. For example this year you could take fruit or veg to make into jam or chutney, and old unwanted items to swap for things you do want at the SwapShop. You could also take your broken items and learn how to fix them at the Fix It Café.
  • Download the map – the site is massive! – you don’t want to miss out. Mind you could pick up a programme on site which had a full guide to what was on, where and when.
  • You can go free! Take public transport, walk or get a lift. Take a picnic – there are plenty of picnic sites dotted around – and spend two jam packed days of free things! You can’t do that very often these days!
  • Go for the full two days. We simply couldn’t get around it in one day.
  • Get involved. There’s no point in just looking! Make jam, have a go a blacksmithing, fix something at the Fix it Café, sing in the choir, join in the debates, then share the joy! That’s what it’s all about.


Thank you to Ethical Mum of Boys for this fantastic post. This is one local northern festival that can’t be missed!

The Festival of Thrift 

The UK’s National Celebration of Sustainable Living … Keep up to date at  @ThriftFest    #thriftfest

ecotourism slow-design locally-produced


1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s