ROTARY club bosses have pumps at the ready as the countdown to an annual beer festival begins.
The third Houghton Beer Festival takes place in May and is set to bring in hundreds of real ale fans to the town.
John Bloomfield, of Houghton Round Table, which organises the event, said: “We’ve sold 25 per cent of the tickets already, and they’ve only been on sale about two weeks.
“As far back as last October, people were asking when the next one would be arranged for.”
Changes for 2014 will include more ciders being on offer and a special ale in honour of Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Bob Heron, who will open the festival.
A number of charities are also set to benefit, with bereavement charity 4Louis and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation due to receive proceeds from drinks sales.
“We like to use charities with local connections and it was felt by all of the lads on the committee that both organisations that are very important to local people,” added Mr Bloomfield.
The event, which is being supported by Sunderland and South Tyneside branches of the Campaign for Real Ale, will be held on Friday and Saturday, May 9-10.
Sponsorship packages are still available, and bands are also being booked to provide music.
Tickets for Friday or Saturday night are £10, with Saturday afternoon passes £5. Details at www.houghton-beer-festival.co.uk.