There is so much to look forward to in the Alresford Watercress Festival on May 21.
The new Watercress King and Queen, selected from Sun Hill Infant and Junior School, will be crowned with watercress crowns by celebrity chef Mark Hix before parading through the town in a horse-drawn carriage throwing freshly-harvested watercress to the crowds.
Visitors can arrive by vintage train from Ropley on the Watercress Line or use a free bus – the Winchester to Alton Stagecoach service 64.
Two antique tractors – a Lamborghini and a Porsche – will guard the entrance to East Street, and there will be music from local bands including the Alresford Ukulele Jam, Pete Harris Quartet, TUTO Marcondes & BrazUKas, Sussex Jazz Kings, Godalming Brass Band and Winchester Rock Choir.
There will be fairground rides, lessons from Juggling Jake, Falcon High bird of prey displays, a climbing wall and The World Watercress Eating Championships. Mark Hix has donated a voucher worth £100 to spend at his fabulous Lyme Regis restaurant, The Oyster and Fish House, which he will be auctioning off.
Raffle prizes include a gin selection hamper, YETI Roadie cool box, crate of 12 local beers, tour of a wasabi farm plus a bottle of wasabi vodka, a watercress barbecue hamper, and £400.
Local children’s cancer charity Abby’s Heroes will have volunteers roaming the festival to exchange bags of watercress for donations.
Mark Hix will auction portions of the dishes he is preparing at the cookery theatre for Abby’s Heroes.
Highly-competitive bidding is expected for personally-prepared meals by this celebrated chef.
There will be more than 100 craft, food and vintage stalls to browse, great food and entertainment to celebrate the start of the UK watercress season.
For more information about the festival visit www.watercressfestival.org