Thousands turn out for annual Watercress Festival

Rajesh Peter retained his watercress-eating crown.

Rajesh Peter retained his watercress-eating crown.

First published in Food News

THOUSANDS of people enjoyed a day of watercress themed activities.

The annual Alresford Watercress Festival featured a parade through the streets which included pupils from Sunhill Infant and Junior School, morris dancers and a horse and cart carrying the festival’s king and queen who distributed watercress to members of the public.

There was music and around 120 stalls.

Lainston House Hotel’s executive chef Andy MacKenzie held a cookery demonstration.

The World Watercress Eating Championship saw last year’s winner Rajesh Peter crowned again over ten other competitors, taking 55.6 seconds to eat two bags of watercress – he failed to beat the record held by champion from two years ago Sam Batho.

For the first time the day held a World Watercress Soup Championships, where 37 entrants competed for the best traditional watercress soup, judged by TV chef Sophie Grigson.

The event, held mainly on Broad Street, has been going for nine years and festival treasurer Roy Gentry said it had matched previous years attracting around 10,000 people.

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