5th Dec, 2016

Bell Tower at heart of Gras festival

Rob George 22nd Apr, 2016 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

MORRIS dancing, traditional folk music, classic cars and famous names will be on the menu for the official launch for this year’s British Asparagus Festival.

A large gathering of people are expected to flock to the The Fleece Inn in Bretforton tomorrow (Saturday) as the festival, which regularly brings in more than £1million into the local economy, gets underway.

And as well as all the usual excitement, this year’s celebration of the famous Gras could even be graced by the Prime Minister himself at some stage between now and June 21.

Evesham’s MP Nigel Huddleston extended an invite to David Cameron during PMQs last Wednesday (April 13) and received a warm response from the PM.

The traditional St George’s Day launch of the Asparagus Festival will once again kick off at The Fleece Inn in Bretforton from 8am.

The Country Pub Of The Year for 2016 and The National Trust’s 15th century pub is the venue for the first leg of the Great Asparagus Run.

Morris and Molly Dancers, Gus The Asparagus Man, the fortune-telling asparamancer, Eddie Grundy, male and female Morris Dancers and a cross-dressing Asparafairy will all be on hand to celebrate the first-cut round of asparagus.

A convoy of vintage cars including three Morgans, several classic Bentleys and Rolls Royces and trucks from Truckfest will then take the asparagus round to Evesham complete with a police escort akin to what the Royal Family could expect.

One of the highlights of this year’s launch is sure to be the celebrations at Evesham’s Bell Tower from 10am as the Avonbank Brass Band strike up some patriotic tunes to welcome the initial leg of the run.

A village fete, free for everyone, will greet the asparagus as the bells ring out for the first time in decades from the tower which will be draped in a giant St George’s flag.

Rodrigo Asparaguy, the Alpine All Male Winter Zumba Championships 2014 will lead a mass asparazumba while stalls selling everything you can eat and drink themed to asparagus will dot Abbey Green.

Three different folk singers will entertain the crowds and at 11.20am, the Rev Andrew Mottram will officially bless the tower.

This year’s Asparagus Run will come to a close at Acorns Children’s Hospice in Worcester where the Gras will be handed over to raise money for the cause.

Kind-hearted staff at Cotswold Inns have dug deep to purchase this year’s first cut.

As well as Gus, the fairy and the dancers, balloon modellers and face painters will make it a carnival atmosphere for the children and their families.

Children will also be able to enjoy asparagus feast to complete a packed day of events.