PUNTERS have been snapping up tickets for this year’s Dorchester Beerex festival.

The popular celebration of real ale and cider is at the Corn Exchange on Friday, February 7 and Saturday, February 8.

Tickets went on sale on New Year’s Day and three of the four sessions sold out within two days.

Evening sessions on the Friday and Saturday are fully booked and so is the lunchtime session on the Saturday.

However, there are still tickets available for the Friday lunchtime session and ale fans are being urged to act quickly.

The session runs from 11am to 3.30pm with entry costing £5 including a glass, programme and a free half pint.

The festival has run since 1988 and is jointly organised by West Dorset Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and Dorchester Round Table.

This year’s event will see more than 80 real ales and ciders on offer while there will also be live music in the evenings.

CAMRA bar manager Rich Gabe said: “Friday lunch is the best session, with all of the beers available in tip-top condition.”

Beerex has raised thousands of pounds for local charities and good causes over the years, with the 2013 festival seeing over £10,000 collected.

This year will see Gully’s Place, a new area at Dorset County Hospital for terminally ill children, be the main beneficiary of the event.

A raffle at the festival will also raise money for the Children’s Wish Appeal, which raises money to make terminally and seriously ill children’s dreams come true.

The Beerex chairman thanked all those companies that had donated prizes for the raffle as well as the record number of firms that had sponsored barrels, meaning the committee can raise the maximum amount possible for its chosen causes.

He said: “We have a record 90 sponsors this year with many companies also supporting the raffle.”

Any local companies that would like to donate more prizes for the raffle can contact Dave Harris on 07977 918130.

Tickets for the Friday lunchtime session are available from the Tourist Information Centre in Antelope Walk, The Borough Arms in High East Street and The Boot in Weymouth.

They can also be booked online at camrawdorset.org.uk