A FASHIONISTA is using her entrepreneurial spirit to bring the first city-style gin festival to a North-East town.

Mr Foxx’s Fabulous Gin Fest is set to be the highlight of the summer festival season with a host of artisan gin makers heading to Darlington along with live entertainment.

Founder of Mr Foxx Events, Donna Dobson, said she was motivated to start her new business after visiting gin festivals in cities like Edinburgh and Newcastle.

“It came at the same time as I’d been to a gathering of business owners in my hometown of Barnard Castle where we were asked for our ideas to support the town. I couldn’t understand why nothing like a gin festival had been done before, so then I thought I would organise some myself,” she explained.

The Fabulous Gin Fest will take place at The Northern Echo Arena in Darlington on June 29 from noon until 5pm and 6.30pm until 11.30pm. A third event at The Witham, in Barnard Castle, will follow on August 31, from 6pm. All the events are supported by Martin Miller’s Gin and Fever-Tree Mixers.

Mrs Dobson added: “It’s frustrated me that events like this are typically held only in the big cities, which means people have to travel and spend more. I’d rather that money stayed in the local area and that we have high quality events for people on our doorstep.

“If we want to save our high streets and support artisan makers then we have to do something about it and make our own entertainment, using community spaces that need our support. You don’t even have to love gin to come along and have a good night out.”

Guests will be able to meet the makers, watch masterclasses and try tasters of the range of gins on offer. Among them will be Little Quaker Distillery, a husband and wife team from Darlington who launched Quaker Gin last year; and Aber Falls Distillery, which produces premium gins in a small village at the gateway to Snowdonia National Park in Wales.

Mrs Dobson, who also owns Fox & Field countrywear, in Barnard Castle, added: “We’re giving new and artisan makers a chance to showcase their products and they like the idea of being able to visit smaller towns.”

Tickets for over-18s only are available via the eventbrite website, by post or collection by calling 01833-630922.