The Fortnight team talks to Kevin Blamire of Scotland’s Boat Show

Tell us about yourself and what you do

I’m Kevin Blamire, the Event Director for Scotland’s Boat Show 2019 (SBS) the largest boat show in Scotland and second- largest in the UK which attracts up to 16,000 visitors to Kip Marina, Inverclyde and, this year, runs 11th – 13th October,

We are much more than just a boat show with a Scottish food and drink pavilion, lifestyle exhibition, luxury cars, motorcycles, helicopter flights, pipe bands and a children’s entertainment area – all adding up to be a great day out for all the family in the spectacular setting of Scotland’s premier marina. It’s also free to attend!

When did local food and drink start playing a part in your event and why?

Event Scotland’s themed years programme and, in particular, Year of Food & Drink 2015 was the catalyst to add a dedicated Scottish Food and Drink Pavilion with an indoor market- style feel, giving over 20 local and regional food and drink suppliers the opportunity to reach our knowledgeable visitors with their high- quality products.

Over the years, this has developed into the West College Scotland Food and Drink Pavilion which can host over 40 exhibitors together with a cookery theatre where visitors can enjoy live food demonstrations from the chef instructors and students from West College together with demos from other exhibitors.


Tell us about some of the food and drink traders that you work with and why you love them

We are huge fans of Alba Seafood from Oban who have been with us from the start– their products are always hugely popular and owners Willie & Karen are passionate about their seafood.

J Climie Butchers from West Kilbride are great supporters of the show and there’s usually a queue for their amazing homemade pies, prime cuts of meat and wonderful black pudding – it’s one of the stalls that I make a beeline for, especially their chicken and haggis pies!

Scotland is on a mission to become a global food tourism destination – what does this mean to you and what role do events like the boat show play in this?

I think it’s important for us to be proud of our natural larder and waters as we are blessed with some of the finest in the world but have possibly been too humble to shout about it. Times have changed thankfully and, with the help of organisations like Scotland Food & Drink, I feel we are well on the way to being perceived as a food destination of quality.

I believe Scotland’s Boat Show is ideally placed to showcase high-quality food and drink products and producers to a knowledgeable and discerning demographic of visitor who travel to Inverkip from across the UK and abroad.


What would you say to any event organiser thinking about making more of a feature of locally-sourced food and drink?

To quote a famous sportswear company – just do it!

We do a lot of visitor research to determine what we are good at and what areas we can improve on and, since 2015, we have seen a significant rise in visitor numbers and satisfaction ratings as a direct result of the quality and provenance of our food and drink purveyors.

I believe visitor expectations for food and drink at events have grown over the years and, to ensure long term success for an event, you need to work with locally sourced food and drink suppliers to satisfy these expectations.


What food and drink highlights do visitors have to look forward to at this year’s show?

As well as a pavilion full of food and drink producers, outside we have a mobile food truck area serving everything from prime Isle of Bute burgers to sizzling fresh scallops.


We are delighted to announce the return of chef Nick Nairn and he’ll be showing off his skills using fresh Scottish produce in his inimitable style with the aid of the hospitality students of West College with three demonstrations in the food theatre on Sunday 13th October.


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