ORGANISERS of an award-winning cider festival are making this weekend's event the final one to give residents a "break from the mayhem".

Nick and Dawn Poole have hosted the Powerstock Cider Festival since 2001, when Mr Poole took over the reins as chairman of The Hut committee.

The final event will take place on Saturday (22) at the Powerstock Hut, from 6.30pm until 10.30pm.

Mr Poole said: "Throughout this period the Powerstock Festival has remained unique in being entirely in aid of charity and to have the individual cider makers serve their ciders to the public during the event.

"All the cider has been given by the cider makers over the years and has enabled the committee to hand over more than £40,000 to charities local and national including an annual donation to the Somerset & Dorset Air Ambulance."

He added: "With many more cider festivals being run these days, I feel it is time to let the residents of Powerstock have a break from the mayhem, and give the generosity of the cider makers a rest.

"A big thank you goes out to all those who have contributed or supported it in anyway over the past 16 years – especially the local team of volunteers who have helped Powerstock host this and made it the success it has become."

Mr Poole, who had began producing cider in 2000, decided to host a small cider tasting evening with a food market in 2001 to raise funds for renovations to the Powerstock Hut.

The first event was the start of a long and very successful venture that very soon took on a life of its own.

In 2001, there were very few signs of cider being produced in Dorset and dedicated cider festivals were thin on the ground across the county. The Powerstock Cider Festival seemed to catch the imagination and word soon spread. In a short time, the event was attracting cider makers from all over the country and was well supported by a new generation of drinkers who wanted to discover what real cider was all about.

Within three years, the food market had to give way to more and more cider makers, giving the public a chance to discover the broad depth and flavours provided by this long standing and ever intriguing traditional drink.

In 2007, the festival won the Innovation Award at the Bath and West Show in recognition of its progress in re-introducing cider to Dorset. During the last 10 years, a new wave of cider making has put Dorset firmly back on the West Country cider map with more than 24 commercial producers now selling their products throughout the county.

Tickets for the event are available from Bridport Tourist Information Centre and Frosts in West Street as well as the Marquis of Lorne in Nettlecombe and the Three Horseshoes in Powerstock.