An old Worcestershire tradition is being revived in a bid to increase the region’s plum harvest and ensure Pershore’s Plum Festival has an abundance of the fruit throughout August.
Pershore has appointed its first Plum Charmer in four centuries to encourage the crop by playing the clarinet to the plum trees. Local solicitor Paul Johnson took on the role after discovering the original Plum Charmer trappings in the basement of his offices during renovations. His job will now be to serenade the plum orchards throughout July to encourage the fruit to ripen and grow.
The town’s first plum charmer was a farmer called Thomas Nevill who swore that his plums tasted sweeter after he’d played the penny whistle to them.
Commenting on the appointment Plum Festival Organiser, Angela Tidmarsh, said: “We’ve already suffered with our asparagus this year thanks to the unpredictable weather so we’re doing anything and everything we can to guarantee our plum harvest. Pershore’s Plum Festival is its bigger tourist attraction of the year and critical to the town’s success”.
Paul, who has been given the blessing of his firm Quality Solicitors Thomson & Bancks to take on the role, has been experimenting with shop bought plums at home. He has discovered different varieties respond to different types of music. Pershore’s Purple Plum, for example, seems to prefer classical pieces such as Elgar whilst the Yellow Egg Plum favours jazz greats like Benny Goodman and the Victoria Plum has a penchant for The Beatles.
The Pershore Plum Festival lasts for a month and officially launches on 20th July.
• Now in its 12th year, this unique festival draws thousands of people from all across the country.
• The month long event begins on Friday 20 July with a Gala Evening at the Number 8 Community Arts Centre when the Plum Princess will be crowned,
• The Grand Launch takes place in Plum Alley on Saturday 28th July
• August Bank Holiday weekend is when the town hosts the Grand Festival Finale.
• Pershore has three plums named after it: the Pershore Purple which was founded in 1890, the Pershore Yellow Egg and the Pershore Emblem.
• The first Plum Festival was held in 1920 and was described as the ‘largest plum show on earth’.
• It was resurrected in 1996 to bring greater awareness of Pershore’s plum heritage
• Plumtastic events include plum tastings, a touring heritage exhibition, cookery demonstrations, concerts and exhibitions.
• Chapman Court is transformed into ‘Plum Alley’ every Saturday throughout August and there will be numerous unusual plum-based delights to sample including Pershore Plum sausages, cheeses, cakes and beers.
• The Pershore Plum Festival Family Race Night will take place on Tuesday 31 July at Worcester Racecourse which last year attracted over 3,300 people!
• There will also be the popular Plum Tours operated by Dudleys Coaches and the Evesham Vale Tour Guides which will take place on Thursday 9, 16 and 23 August.
• The Grand Festival Finale on the August Bank Holiday weekend is the festival’s big weekend. The town’s shops, market, pubs and restaurants all get involved offering a variety of plum products and menus. ‘The Big Plum’ at The Angel Inn is one of the main attractions serving plum ale and cider along with musical entertainment.
• The annual teddy bear parachute jump will be held at Pershore Abbey and in Abbey Park there will be one of the region’s largest ever gatherings of classic cars. St. Andrews Gardens, Church Walk and Plum Alley will all have a wide variety of craft and charity stalls selling plum products as well as the award-winning farmers’ market in Broad Street.
• The Plum Fun Zone on King Georges Field will host activities such as a climbing wall, canoeing on the river, archery, fair rides and river boat cruises and the Plum Parade will be bursting with arts, crafts and music.
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