Council reflects on success of Piazza Italia

editorial image

THANKS to event partners at least eight prize competitions linked to this year’s Horsham Piazza Italia festival will have created over 20 winners amongst business and public participants alike.

With everything from holidays to Italian cakes and cash to cellar cards to be won, thousands took part helping to generate even more town visitors and exploration of the town’s businesses.

Italian trips could be won over two separate days of the festival, courtesy of two new participants to the Piazza Italia event organised by Horsham District Council.

On Good Friday the Heart Radio Angels gave away five pairs of tickets, courtesy of Monarch Airlines which is celebrating the recent launch of its Gatwick to Venice route, the second Italian destination served from the local international airport. Winners also had the choice of flying to Milan.

Also over Friday and Saturday, Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice had a lottery booth and an Easter egg tombola (which Horsham’s Courtney Green has kindly been collecting Easter eggs for).

On Friday only, visitors to the stall were invited to guess the weight of a Ferrari cake specially made for their Horsham Piazza Italia competition.

On Easter Saturday, locally based Citalia, the UK’s leading Italian Holiday specialist, were in the Carfax promoting their fantastic range of Italian getaway experiences.

Those who found the stall and completed an entry for the prize draw were in with a chance of winning two nights in Rome and a contribution of £100 towards flights.

Jonathan Chowen, HDC cabinet member for Arts, Heritage and Leisure said: “What a fantastic event it was; it seems to grow and grow with visitors from far and wide.

“It made the town seem like Christmas it was so busy.”

Nigel Fitzsimmons, HDC Town Centres Officer and organiser of many of the competitionsm, added: “This year was the best ever in terms of businesses taking part, public entries and some truly fantastic prizes. It was a great example of how working together we can continue to help each other to get even more out of the events we have in the town centre.

“We try hard to work with all businesses who seek to make the most out of our events to capture the opportunities to engage with new customers.”

MINIs of all varieties formed part of the ‘Vines MINI Italian Job Mini Run’ this year on Easter Saturday, arriving in Horsham around 12pm, having departed form the dealership site in Crawley.

Vines was running a competition with prize draw to win a weekend use of the latest MINI Roadster.

Visitors were invited to count the number of Minis parked in East Street and Market Square as part of the MINI Run and confirm which Italian City was featured in the original ‘Italian Job’ film for a chance to win.

Running right across the Easter Holiday Horsham Rotary Club ran its ever popular Easter Bunny Hunt with over 20 businesses taking part and more than 500 entries and many still to be counted, this was the most successful town hunt yet. Winners will be announced by the Rotary Club soon.

Also producing both public and business winners the pre-festival competition to find the town’s favourite purveyor of coffee also proved a big hit with over 1,000 votes cast and with the Lounge@The Company in Middle Street running out popular winners.

Steamer Trading had donated a top of the line coffee machine as the public prize.

La Vida won the council’s best Italian Window competition with a stylish display in Italian national colours and great humoured advice to their customers to ‘Keep Calm and Buy Italian’.

The Italian Wine Tasting Tour – Contrada del Vino Italiana returned on Easter Monday for wine lovers, with a record 17 businesses participating, offering samples of their finest Italian wines to visitors.

As part of the day’s theme, visitors to the town took a trip to beautiful Naples; the city of food and drink and, in celebration, this year wine tour participants could win one of three fantastic prizes.

South Lodge Hotel offered exclusive use of its Wine Cellar with a £100 cellar card, Carmela Restaurant offered a meal voucher worth £50 and Octopvs, Horsham’s latest cocktail venue offered one of five £20 vouchers to spend in the bar.

Emma Bennett from Maplehurst took part in the wine tasting tour and won the South Lodge Prize.

A delighted Emma said: “My husband and I decided to take part in the wine tour this year with our friends who recommended it to us.

“It was the perfect way to spend a Bank Holiday and do this type of thing and we ended up going to around eleven of the venues involved; some we’d never been to before, such as The Company and the new Octopvs bar, where we were made to feel really welcome.

“We’d definitely take part again with more of our friends; it’s a really fun, sociable idea.”