A YOUNG American children’s television sensation is expected to go along to the launch of the 2015 British Asparagus Festival in the Vale of Evesham later this month.

Thirteen-year-old Chase Bailey, who has his own cookery show in the USA, is planning to attend the first day of the eight-week festival which starts on St George’s Day at the Fleece Inn, Bretforton.

April 23 is now considered the official start of the British asparagus season and the festival – originally known as the Vale Asparagus Festival – first started in 2006.

Each year the organisers kick start a series of events, aimed at celebrating the delicate tasting vegetable and its Worcestershire heritage, with the English Asparagus Run.

Wychavon tourism officer Angela Tidmarsh explained the aim was to make it as famous as the Beaujolais Run in the 1970s when English enthusiasts drove to deepest Burgundy in France and raced back trying to be the first to return with a case of Beajolais Nouveau.

The asparagus run starts at the Fleece Inn and involves a number of asparagus characters including Gus the Asparagusman, Eve the Asparagus Fairy and local resident Tony Haines dressed as St George, Eddy Grundy (Trevor Harrison) of BBC Radio 4’s The Archers fame, Evesham Molly Dancers Asum Gras and asparamancer Jemima Packington, who uses asparagus sticks to tell the future.

All the schoolchildren from Bretforton School also turn up to join in the festivities and this year young US TV chef Chase is planning to cook up some asparagus breakfast delicacies for them to enjoy.

Each year the asparagus run goes to a different location in the UK, said Angela. “It is a very Worcestershire celebration event. We have a Morgan car, a Royal Worcester Porcelain plate and a large round of gras. We set off to the sound of Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory. We are celebrating all that is great about Worcestershire.

“We have been to Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Stratford-upon-Avon. This year is the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Evesham so the asparagus run, with Evesham Town Crier John Raphael dressed as Simon de Montford, is going to Leicester.”

The Battle of Evesham in 1265 was one of the main battles of an English Civil war between a group of barons and Royalist forces led by Prince Edward. It marked the death and defeat of Simon de Montford 6th Earl of Leicester.

“This year the Lord Mayor of Leicester will receive a presentation of the round of asparagus,” said Angela.

The festival, which ends on Sunday June 21, also includes cookery demonstrations, Asparabus coach tours from May 13 to 20, an asparagus family fun day on Bank Holiday Monday May 25, the Asparafest food and music festival on May 30 and 31 at Ashdown Farm, Evesham, the AsparaWriting Festival from June 6 to 13 and the Evesham National Morris Weekend.

For more information visit http://www.britishasparagusfestival.org/?page_id=2