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Alresford Watercress Festival 2023, UK
If you are a fan of cress then Hampshire is the place to head for this May. Held on 21 May, the 2023 Alresford Watercress Festival will see fifteen thousand visitors flocking to New Alresford, dubbed the ‘capital of watercress’.
The town centre will transform into a giant street festival with local fare available from the more than 120 food stalls. Try a watercress burger, or perhaps the beer or ice cream.
At 10am there will be a procession through the town with the Watercress King and Queen handing out watercress to spectators, accompanied by dancers and musicians.
Mark Hix, a well-known chef, restaurateur, and food writer, will be praising the benefits of this adaptable and colourful green superfood this year.
There will be over 140 craft and food stalls selling their wares, local music groups will play, street performers will keep the kids entertained, and a chance to ride on The Watercress Line. In addition to Mark, other professional chefs will perform on the cookery demonstration stand.
Long before the vegetable developed into a superfood, watercress was grown in Hampshire since the 19th century, with produce transported to London’s Covent Garden, first by coach and subsequently by rail, on what became known as the Watercress Line.
World Watercress Eating Championships
Two slightly absurd but really hilarious incidents round out the day’s festivities. The King and Queen lead a cavalcade as they distribute bunches of just picked watercress to the people lining the streets to kick off the day’s festivities.
A really remarkable sight is offered by the World Watercress Eating Championships – eating 80g of watercress as quickly as possible. Glenn Walsh, who has won the championship for the past 14 years, may have been Alresford’s inevitable and apparently invincible champion, but who knows? His reign might end in 2023.
For further insight on the Alresford Watercress Festival, read: Alresford Eating Competition.
When is the Alresford Watercress Festival 2023?
The 2023 festival will be on 15 May from 10am to 4pm. It is free to attend the festival and there are packets of watercress to take home with you, but the organisers ask you make a donation to local kids’ cancer charity, Joe Glover Trust.
Getting to the Watercress Festival
During the festival a free shuttle service with a difference will operate, as you can ride the steam train from Ropley to Alresford along the Watercress Line.
Things to Do in Hampshire
The Alresford Watercress Festival is just one of many activities going on in Hampshire this year, for more information on the county’s events, click here.
For further inspiration on things to do in Hampshire, read Mark Bibby Jackson’s Hampshire: Cricket, Dockyards and the D-Day Story.
More information on the Alresford Watercress Festival
Photos provided by the Alresford Watercress Festival. Main image: Watercress King George and Queen Myla from Sunhill Primary School .©Russell Sach – 0771 882 6138.