MORRIS dancing, traditional folk music, classic cars and famous names were on the menu for part of the official launch for this year’s British Asparagus Festival.
Visitors from the Vale and further afield flocked to The Fleece Inn in Bretforton yesterday (Thursday) as the festival began in style with Evesham’s famous vegetable taking centre stage on St George’s Day.
The official start of the UK’s eight-week asparagus season launched with the ‘Great British Asparagus Run’.
The run began at the National Trust’s only pub – the Vale of Evesham’s 600-year-old Fleece Inn – and saw a fleet of classic cars take to the road for a trip to Leicester.
This year is the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Evesham at which Simon de Montfort (the 6th Earl of Leicester) was killed whilst trying to defend democracy.
So in his honour, this year’s Asparagus Run heads to Leicester where they celebrate his earldom and have several buildings named in his honour.
The international appeal of the popular day even saw13-year-old American chef, Chase Bailey, jet across from California to cook asparagus delicacies for local school children at the celebrations having been so taken by stories from previous years.
The morning’s festivities also included appearances by St George, Gus The Asparagus Man and, for the first time, Simon de Montfort.
Also joining the morning’s celebrations will be world-renowned asparamancer, Jemima Packington, and Evesham hotelier, John Jenkins, as his alter-ego, Eve the Asparafairy.
Morris dancers, including the all-female ‘Asum Gras’, singing local school children and a brass band playing stirring British tunes together with The Archer’s Eddie Grundy reading odes to the vegetable also competed a morning of fun.
After this, the newly-harvested asparagus spears were escorted by vintage and Morgan Cars to Leicester and be the focus of their St George’s Day celebration feast that evening.
Visitors to the county can hop on an Asparabus for a tour of the local growers to learn more about the venerated vegetable, as well as enjoy cookery demonstrations and tastings.
Visit www.britishasparagusfestival.org to find out more about the British Asparagus Festival 2015, and all its associated events.
Log on to www.battleofevesham.co.uk for more about the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Evesham.
Bill Pullin sings to the audience. 1715018MMR8 Order this picture at www.buyphotos247.com.
Terry Smith arrives in his 1966 TR4A 1715018MMR5 Order this picture at www.buyphotos247.com.
Asum Gras Molly dancers Angie Kenny and Tina Giles 1715018MMR4 Order this picture at www.buyphotos247.com.
Bretfortens Morris Men entertain 1715018MMR3 Order this picture at www.buyphotos247.com.
The Asparamancer, Jemima Packington, tells the fortune of Evesham Mayor Charlie Homer 1715018MMR2 Order this picture at www.buyphotos247.com.
The Archers’ Trevor Harrison leads proceedings. 1715018MMR6 Order this picture at www.buyphotos247.com.
Jack Hegarty (Wychavon District Council) and Nigel Smith from The Fleece Inn kick proceedings off. 1715018MMR7 Order this picture at www.buyphotos247.com.
The Fleece Inn landlord Nigel Smith and Rev Richard Court bless the asparagus. 1715018MMR9 Order this picture at www.buyphotos247.com.
‘Simon de Montfort’ speaks to the crowd. 1715018MMR10 Order this picture at www.buyphotos247.com.