Let the hop­ping BE­GIN

The Faver­sham Hop Fes­ti­val re­turns for two days of tra­di­tional cel­e­bra­tions. An­gela Cole looks at what’s on of­fer over the week­end for the 40,000 folk head­ing there

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - What's On - - DAYS OUT -

Our hops fields in Kent may be di­min­ish­ing but our love for the hop and what it gives us is as strong as ever.

The Faver­sham Hop Fes­ti­val sees thou­sands head­ing for the mar­ket town for a week­end of cel­e­bra­tions of ev­ery­thing from how hops are picked to live mu­sic and mor­ris danc­ing - plus plenty of chances to sam­ple it in its fi­nal glory as a bev­er­age.

Over the fes­ti­val week­end there will be more than 60 bands and per­form­ers pro­vid­ing 70 hours of live mu­sic across five stages. The lively event - now in its 29th year - rev­els in tra­di­tional fes­tiv­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with the hop har­vest and cel­e­brates the town’s un­ri­valled hop her­itage. Now one of the largest free street fes­ti­vals in the south east, the event has street per­form­ers and pro­ces­sions. Step­ping back into his­tory, there will be the Hop Bless­ing and a tra­di­tional pa­rade through the town.

There are also spe­cial tours of the Faver­sham brewer Shep­herd Neame’s brew­ery for the week­end.

There will be some 15 mor­ris sides show­cas­ing a range of styles and the dance dis­plays which will be hap­pen­ing around the town over the week­end, at in­ter­vals on both af­ter­noons in Stone Street and East Street. There will be stages in the Mar­ket Place, Pre­ston Street, Court Street and a folk stage in Week Street.

The fam­ily area will in­clude a fun fair, Punch and Judy, magic shows and work­shops and will be next to the Hop­pers Mar­ket Stage in the Cen­tral car park. There will be a tra­di­tional fun­fair and a street mar­ket full of stalls fea­tur­ing an ar­ray of Ken­tish food and drink, in­clud­ing beer pro­duced in the town, lo­cal cider and Ken­tish ap­ple juice.

There will also be a Fes­ti­val Vil­lage at the Abbey School where vis­i­tors can camp to fully en­joy the week­end’s fes­tiv­i­ties. On the Fri­day & Satur­day evenings there will be en­ter­tain­ment in the mar­quee, and a real ale bar.

There will be a num­ber of road clo­sures in place from 8am to 7pm both days. Check the fes­ti­val web­site for de­tails. Park­ing is at a pre­mium in the town on fes­ti­val week­end, so or­gan­is­ers rec­om­mend us­ing the park- and-ride at the Abbey School in Lon­don Road, Faver­sham. The mar­shalled car park will cost £5 a day per car (9am to 9pm). The not for profit event is run with a small army of vol­un­teers and or­gan­is­ers fundraise to put it on.

The lively event now in its 29th year - rev­els in tra­di­tional fes­tiv­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with the hop har­vest’

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