DRINKERS are preparing to indulge their beer goggles next week when the Swindon Beer Festival returns to the town with another fine selection of alcoholic delights.

Once again featuring around 130 real ales and 30 ciders, including a handful of perries, it will mark the 29th festival held by the Swindon branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

For the tenth year the festival will be held at the STEAM Museum in Fire Fly Avenue, and will open on Thursday, October 22, and run until Saturday, October 24.

Richard James, secretary of Swindon CAMRA, said: "There will only be a very small cross-over between the ales, ciders and perries available this year compared to last year, so it is a good opportunity for people to come along and try something new.

"From a customer point of view it's great fun. There will be food during every session and live music from Music Alive, which is based in Highworth, on Thursday night."

There are several sessions taking place during the course of the weekend.

On Thursday, October 24, the festival will run from 6pm to 11pm. On Friday, October 23, sessions will run from 11am to 3.30pm, and from 6pm to 3.30pm.

On Saturday, October 24, the festival will run from 11am to 7pm.

But beer-lovers are warned the Friday, October 23, evening session is a ticket-only event, and all tickets have already sold out through popular demand.

Tickets are still available for the Thursday night, Friday lunchtime and all-day Saturday sessions, and are available on the door.

Richard said: "The Friday night session has sold out, so no more tickets are available for that. All the other sessions are payment on the door and are never full, so we would encourage people to come to one of those, especially the Saturday one as this is nice and relaxed and a good one for people who are new to the festival.

"It's a great opportunity both for people who already enjoy real ale and for those who want to find out more about it and want to try it.

"It's also a great opportunity to find out more about what CAMRA is all about, since we';re there and on hand to talk about real ale and the campaign."

Admission costs £5 on Thursday and Friday afternoon, and £4 on Saturday.

The admission fee to all sessions includes a souvenir glass and programme. There will be £2 of free beer tokens for CAMRA members.

All sessions will have food available on sale in addition to the selection of als and ciders. There will be a hog roast on Thursday evening.

CAMRA was established in 1971 out of fear of a real danger real ale was going to disappear and be replaced by keg beer. Many brewers had already stopped brewing real ale.

The Swindon & North Wiltshire branch formed in October 1974 when a small group of enthusiasts held the first meeting at Wadworth's Brewery.

To find out more about the festival and the local branch of CAMRA, visit www.swindon.camra.org.uk.