A CASH-conscious festival that drew huge crowds to its inaugural event last summer is to return to the region this summer.

The Festival of Thrift exceeded all expectations when it was launched at Lingfield Point, in Darlington, with 27,000 people pouring through the gates over two days – 17,000 more than were expected.

Organisers say the programme for the 2014 event, to be held on the weekend of September 27 and 28, at Lingfield Point, will be bigger and better this year, with a celebration of all things thrifty and sustainable.

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The Festival of Thift was co-curated by fashion designer Wayne Hemingway and his wife, Gerardine, who will return to oversee this year’s event.

The couple launched the event as a free cultural celebration where people could find the fun in learning how to reuse, recycle and upcycle, to save money and help the environment.

Mr Hemingway said: “The success of last year proves even further that thrift is not just a flash in the pan but a set of values applied to the way you live your life.

“Thrift has become a vital, contemporary movement reflecting traditional values, and it’s evolving each day as our needs and the needs of our planet change.

“The Festival of Thrift is an apt response to the economic climate and can play a positive and uplifting role in helping folk to navigate their way through times of low disposable income.

"I’m delighted it’s back for a second year and I hope it makes even more of an impact this time round.”

Organisers are looking for new participants who can put their own twist on thrift, as well as welcoming back some of the stall holders, crafters and businesses that helped to make the first event a success.

John Orchard, a director of Marchday, owners of Lingfield Point, said: “The Festival of Thrift goes hand-in-hand with the beliefs, ideas and dreams of Lingfield Point.

“I’m absolutely thrilled for Lingfield Point to be the host once again – it means great things not only for us, but for Darlington too.”

For more information on the Festival of Thrift 2014 programme visit festivalofthrift.co.uk For information on taking part in the 2014 festival email info@festivalofthrift.co.uk