In January, inspired by some office banter about New Year’s Resolutions, I made a pledge to visit a food festival I’ve never been to before and thought it was about time I started to do some research on where I should go. This morning, I’ve spent a bit of time Googling foodie events in Europe but have totally lost my train of thought, and my appetite, because of the totally bonkers festivals I’ve found which are held right here, in Britain, every year. My quest to find a food event is temporarily going on hold while I share some of these wacky gems with you.
Last year we had the Olympics, but they will pale into insignificance when you look at this line-up for 2013…
This has to be one of the most bizarre rural traditions our nation can lay claim to. In the simplest terms, Dwile Flonking involves two teams which compete to flonk (fling) a dwile (beer soaked rag) at one another using a driveller (long wooden pole). The flonker is surrounded by his opponents and scores points only if he hits them with his dwile. The number of points awarded varies depending on where the dwile hits their body, and scores are kept and moderated by the jobanowl (referee). Failure to score any points means the flonker has to drink a pot of ale as a penalty. I have to be honest, if I happened to be passing this event and had no clue what was going on, I’d be tempted to call the police or check the local news to see if an asylum was missing any of its inmates.
Blackawton International Festival of Worm Charming – 5th May 2013, Dartmouth
This quirky festival started in the early 80’s but quickly became popular with competitors of all ages. The aim of the game is to, by means of stomping, making bribes with cider and offering a few whispered sweet nothings, entice worms to the sodden surface of the lawns at The Normandy Arms which has considered itself as ‘Worm HQ’ since the festival began. Whoever manages to attract the most worms from the earth is hailed as Champion Worm Charmer. Now there’s a medal anyone would be proud of.
International Bognor Birdman – 13th and 14th July 2013, Bognor Regis
Red Bull might give you wings, but that won’t help you at this competition on the coast where you need to go all Blue Peter and build your own. The rules are simple; create your own set of wings out of any materials you like, strap them on, and then leap into the air and attempt to take flight from the end of Bognor Pier. Whoever stays airborne for longest before plopping into the English Channel stands to win cash prizes and a place in the Bognor Birdman hall of fame.
World Egg Throwing Championships – 30th June 2013, Thorpe Latimer
When I was a kid, I was accused of egging a neighbour’s house. I didn’t do it. But if I’m honest I wish I had. Not because I didn’t like my neighbours, but because the idea of a little harmless vandalism has always appealed, just a little. Is that normal? Anyway, this event has a number of eggy competitions which anyone can participate in, including an egg relay race, egg trebuchet, egg target tossing and Russian egg roulette.
World Toe Wrestling Championships – 8th June 2013, Ashbourne
This one is not for the foot-phobic, by which I mean myself. Hairy toes in particular kind of give me the willies, but if tangled toes are your thing then this weird event might be one for you. Competitors begin by removing their opponent’s shoes and socks (bleurgh) before sitting on the floor and going foot to foot in a wrestle. The aim of the game is to trap your opponent’s foot underneath your own for three seconds.
On that note, thinking of feet has made me totally lose my appetite for food festival research; I’ll come back to it later. I’d be interested to hear about any other weird festivals that I might have missed. Have you ever entered a crazy championship? Are you a wacky winner?! Let us know about it or better still, send us a photo. Unless, of course, it’s of feet…