LAST minute preparations are being made for this weekends newly named Helensburgh Beer and Gin Festival – which is expected to attract big crowds to the town.

Organisers have ordered 10 more casks than last year to ensure that festival goers don’t go thirsty, increasing their order to 65 casks, which should provide visitors with around 700 additional pints.

The local Round Table decided to change the name from Helensburgh Ale Festival to reflect the evolving offerings at the event.

Andrew Duncan, festival deputy convener, explained: “We’ve changed the name of the festival as we’re passionate about gin as well! By offering both beer and gin we’re appealing to a much larger audience of men and woman. In fact, it’s a great event for couples.

“In addition to gin I’ve also added a delicious selection of gin cocktails made by Eden Mill for St Andrew’s.

“Our cider list has been tweaked slightly to include more sweat ciders which are always extremely popular.

“And lastly, we’ve a special surprise with a Whisky Ale Cocktail which I’m sure will be a hit.”

The festival, set to take place at Helensburgh Sailing Club, this weekend, Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20, is expected to attract around 1,400 people to the area who will be able to sample the drink, food and entertainment on offer.

The festival opens tomorrow at 6pm and the complimentary beer bus service will start to run between Helensburgh Central and the Sailing Club in time to meet every train.

Falkirk band Sound Cradle, who made their debut performance in Helensburgh last year, are returning to kick off the entertainment. The four piece will tackle all genres from the 50s to the present day.

The bar will close at 11pm, ready to open on the Saturday morning at noon when the beer bus will begin once again.

Providing entertainment on the Saturday is Crowded Croft who will play a mixture of ceilidh and folk tunes during the day before they entertain with a full rock line up in the evening.

The gin bar is expected to close around 8pm and the main bar will close at 11pm.

Stewart Tacchi, festival convener, said: “We’re really excited and hope to see loads of people down at the festival having fun again this year. Over the years the festival has raised more than £50,000 for local good causes. The festival wouldn’t be possible without the help of the local businesses that support the festival with sponsorship.”