WEYMOUTH and Dorchester Town will form an unprecedented partnership for a new Dorset Fans Festival at the Bob Lucas Stadium on Saturday, July 30.

Centering around the pre-season friendly between the Ridgeway rivals, the community-friendly event will feature a mini youth tournament featuring teams from both clubs.

Before and after the senior friendly, various stalls and activities will be available to families, with the festival finished off by live music at the ground.

It is the first time the Terras and Magpies have partnered in unison for an event of this kind, which comes just seven days before the start of both teams' league seasons.

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Speaking to Echosport, Weymouth director and event organiser Mark Palmer said: “We’re going to be organising a football fan festival, which will be quite significant because we really want to involve both communities, get both sets of youth teams and parents, players, boys and girls, involved.

“It’s going to be a mini youth tournament going on on the stadium pitch, we’re going to have beer stalls, merchandising, live music, and then obviously the game and probably a concert in the evening.

“It’s going to be quite a big day and we want the Dorset community saying that there’s some unity going on, it’s a celebration of Dorset football.

“This is a really important event to bring football fans within the Dorset community together.

“We’re looking forward to a day of events and family interaction with both clubs. We really want to give the fans of both teams a really good send-off into the respective new seasons.

“OK, there’s still the rivalry there, but it’s a more friendly rivalry than with Yeovil!

“There’s going to be lots of activities, we’re going to be talking to lots of local companies that want to get involved in terms of reaching out to the public and having stalls.

“With the live music, we’re looking to get the best of the local band talent, which is great for the local music scene because they can showcase themselves to the local audience.

“It’s going to be a good, fun day.”

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Dorchester chairman Scott Symes echoed Palmer's thoughts.

He said: "It's a very healthy thing. The rivalry on the pitch is fantastic and should remain and a healthy rivalry off it doesn't do anyone any harm.

"But we certainly want to improve relations between the two clubs. With everything that's happened over the last few years it's a good thing to do.

"It's the planning and preparation that takes a lot of work and it's not been done before, especially between Dorchester and Weymouth.

"Normally we're talking to SAG (Safety Advisory Group) about getting the game on!"

He added: "Dorchester can get a very good pre-season friendly against local rivals and we can all watch a very competitive game of football.

"During the day, the kids can go down and enjoy it. There are plans for music and everything as well. Hopefully, all being well, it can be a very positive event for both clubs.

"We are a community club and in our ownership model as well. Our development teams have done extremely well this year and that's bringing more of the community down.

"For the kids that are coming, who are ten, 11, 12, they can see (a career) is possible. 

"I know from speaking to Mark that they're very keen to engage with the community as well."