ASPARAGUS mania is set to descend on the Vale next week as the annual festival celebrating the famous green Gras begins.

On St George's Day, Wednesday, April 23, the Asparagus Festival will be launched with the Great English Asparagus Run.

The traditional event, which takes place from 8am at the National Trust owner Fleece Inn at Bretforton, will see Morris Dancers, St George, Gus the asparagus man, the Asparafairy and the Asparamancer all descend on the venue.

There will also be Asparazumba, the Bretforton Silver Band and plenty more to get everyone in the joyful spirit.

Jemima Packington, otherwise known as the Asparamancer, said she predicted this year would be a great success.

"We just really want good weather now," said Miss Packington, who is famous for using Vale asparagus to predict the future and will be appearing on Sun Bingo TV on Friday to promote the event.

"I am predicting good things for it. I think spirits are high this time and that's what we want."

This year has a few firsts for the festival, including the asparagus themed wedding, and festival organiser Angela Tidmarsh is sure this year will be the best yet.

"This year at the launch we will be celebrating St George's Day just as much," she said. "There will be the treasure hunt and we have invited Morgan classic cars along to take part for free if they register. It will end up at the Broadway Tower where we will be hanging a 60 foot St George's flag.

"We have asparagus singing, we are really going all out. The festival is shaping up to be one of the best we have had."

After the launch there is a calendar full of asparagus filled events including the AsparaWriting Festival, which is taking place at the Evesham Hotel and All Saints Parish Church in Evesham for the entirety of the festival, ending Saturday, June 21.

On Wednesday, May 14, at Eckington Manor Cookery School there will be an asparagus night cookery demonstration, and on the same day the first Asparabus Coach Tour will take place around the Vale, with other tours being held on Wednesdays May 21 and 28.

The Fleece Inn at Bretforton will host another traditional event on Sunday, May 25, when the Bretforton Silver Band Asparagus Auction takes place.

The following day, Monday, May 26, will see the Asparagus Festival Family Fun Day also at the The Fleece Inn and from Saturday, May 31, until Sunday, June 1, AsparaFest will take place at Ashdown Farm, near Badsey.

And if all this wasn't enough Gus the asparagus man could prove a draw himself.

The giant human asparagus spear has reportedly got ladies' all of a flutter and women have started to throw their gardening gloves at him wherever he goes.

He has appeared at the House of Lords, Buckingham Palace, the Red Bull Karting Championships and is now being asked to show his spear at year-round events with a female-focus throughout the West Midlands - from talks at Women's Institute Meetings to judging cookery competitions.

His popularity is such that he has his own Facebook and Twitter pages and a range of merchandise, including a saucy calendar, is planned for 2015.