Two fantastic festivals are held locally in May – the Beltain Festival and the Alresford Watercress Festival.
Beltain is the ancient Celtic celebration to mark the beginning of summer.Butser Ancient Farm hosts their annual Festival on Saturday 5th May. Each year, visitors can expect a fantastic afternoon/evening of entertainment and refreshments culminating with the burning of the wickerman at dusk.
Other entertainment includes Roman cooking, maypole dancing, storytelling, Anglo-Saxon re-enactors, HantsAstro, various stalls and traditional skills demonstrating metalwork, leathercraft, hurdle making, flint knapping, willow weaving, spinning and weaving. There is also a real ale bar, Celtic mead and hot food available.
On Sunday 20th May 2018, the annual Alresford Watercress Festival will attract thousands of visitors to New Alresford who come to celebrate the delicious, locally-grown watercress.
Over 80 stalls showcase the very best local food and drink producers. Others sell arts, crafts, jewellery and clothing, items for the house and garden, and much more. Well-known chefs will demonstrate delicious watercress-inspired dishes.
Over 50 producers with Hampshire Farmers’ Markets will be in Broad Street with local produce including free range beef, lamb, pork and chicken, rare breed meat, fresh fish, cheeses, drinks and wines.
Watercress Festival Awards are presented to stallholders who come up with the most creative use of watercress.
Music and dance is central to the festival with a day full of performances by bands, Morris dancers and local school children. One of the main highlights of the festival is the street cavalcade along Broad Street when jazz musicians, Morris dancers and local school children accompany the Watercress King and Queen who sit atop a horse and cart. The children distribute the first of the season’s watercress harvest to festival-goers. There are activities for children of all ages, including circus skills workshops, face painting, a petting farm and a climbing wall.
And The Watercress Line is offering those parking in the car park next to Ropley station a free train ride to and from the festival!
A highlight of the festival is always the watercress eating competition where contestants have to eat fresh watercress as quickly as possible. The world record is 32 seconds!
Butser Ancient Farm is about 15 minutes away and New Alresford is less than 15 miles away from Wallops Wood Cottages. Come and stay at the cottages and experience these quintessentially English festivals for yourself.