For many years, Vale of Evesham asparagus has become more and more popular and following the success of the famous asparagus auctions at The Fleece Inn next door to us here in Bretforton talks between the county’s tourism industry providers and local growers took place to decide how the area could capitalise on this popularity and “fill in” the week between the auctions at The Fleece with other asparagus related events….. hence The Vale Asparagus Festival was born…
In its first year (2006) largely through the marketing efforts of The British Asparagus Growers Association the Festival attracted a lot of media interest and also a lot of visitors to our area, as well as increasing the awareness of this amazing British vegetable. The following year, plans for the 2007 event progressed well, again with the National promotion both by ourselves and the Growers Association, the Festival, and the area benefitted enormously from TV and radio interviews and numerous articles in National magazines, newspapers and food related journals. Lovely local celeb Mr Henry Sandon (BBC Antiques Roadshow) opened the event and celebrity chef Rachel Green became the face of the campaign and attended the Festival doing cookery demonstrations…
What was interesting during the promotion of the 2007 event was that, suddenly the Vale Asparagus Festival was being promoted by the media as “The British Asparagus Festival” and by this time we were communicating with the Stockton Asparagus Festival in California – who are very interested in the Vales new venture. This was really exciting, especially as their Festival is an enormous event worth many thousands of dollars to their local economy.
The 2008 British Asparagus Festival in the Vale of Evesham started with “The Great English Asparagus Run” on St Georges Day, when a “Round” of the finest Vale Asparagus was transported in a Morgan car to the House of Commons to celebrate the “Enjoy England – Celebrate St George’s Day Campaign”
“Gus” the Asparagus Man made his debut to the World on St George’s Day!
Jemima Packington – the UK’s only “Asparamancer” also joined us, divining people’s future by throwing asparagus spears onto the floor and making predictions based on how they land.
The following press coverage is available to view
Click here to see Jemima Packington in action
Click here to read what the Daily Telegraph had to say about Jemima Packington
Click here to see Jemima at the 2008 British Trade and Travel Fair
The following press coverage is available to view concerning the Great English Asparagus Run
The pinnacle events of the 2008 Festival were the Bretforton Silver Band Asparagus Auction and the Vale Festival Day held at The Fleece Inn in Bretforton. Despite torrential rain, hundreds of asparamad people attended the events over the May Bank Holiday weekend. The historic auction was held on Sunday evening, when more than £1,300 was raised for the Bretforton Silver Band. Auctioneer Colin Jelfs worked tirelessly selling some of the finest “Gras” in the world for record prices and “Gus” the asparagus man was more than happy to help!!!
Festival Day (Bank Holiday Monday) dawned windy – but dry! Sadly this didnt last very long, and soon the heavens opened. However, true British spirit soon took over, packamacs came out, umbrellas went up, wellies were pulled on and the camaraderie among all those who had travelled from as far away as Scotland was a joy to be part of.
A Farmers Market had set up in the Village square, numerous country crafts could be found in the Grand
Marquee – ranging from beekeepers to wood turners
Antiques Roadshow star and local celebrity Henry Sandon opened the event and also hosted “Henrys’ Roadshow” where visitors bought their own pots for him to look at and value. This proved to be a great crowd puller and Henry and his lovely wife Barbara were busy all afternoon
TV Celebrity Chef, Rachel Green – star of “Farm of Fussy Eaters” entertained a packed house with her mouthwatering asparagus food demonstrations and once again “Gus” helped out.
Jemima Packington – the Country’s only Asparamancer proved to be an enormous success giving predictions using asparagus spears.
The scheduled outdoor entertainment by the Pebworth Morris Men was hastily brought indoors, due to the heavy rain, but, as always they gave a crowd pleasing performance.
The British Asparagus Festival takes place in the Vale of Evesham from the 23rd April-21st June in and around our workshop here in The Cotswolds.
Click here to download a list of our local growers and where you can get some special ‘gras!
So – fresh for 2010 Naked Asparagus Themed Soaps are to top the charts and be the festivals latest addition! We’re making this week and the labels are currently being designed!