West Brookfield Asparagus & Flower Heritage Festival

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Gardening / Horticulture - Fair/Festival

Date & Time: Saturday, May 17, 2014
10:00 AM-4:00 PM
Suggested Audiences: Elders, Adult, High School, Middle School, Preschool, Toddler
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West Brookfield Town Common
West Brookfield, MA 01585
Cost: Free
Sponsored by: West Brookfield Historical Commission, Quaboag Historical
Description: WEST BROOKFIELD - This town is tuning up its garden forks and sprucing up its lovely centerpiece and welcome mat - the common - and we hope you'll come to the party on Saturday, May 17.
From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the much-loved and eagerly anticipated Asparagus and Flower Heritage Festival will welcome visitors from across New England and beyond to spend the day enjoying this splendid ode to Spring and tribute to the slender, tender stalk of green it's named for.
One hundred juried vendors of things earthy, artistic and artisanal will provide food for the senses and for thought - here's history, gastronomy and the pleasure of your company, all of you, as you meet and greet the thousands of friends of Diederick Leertouwer. In fact, perhaps you'll meet the man who, tradition informs us, brought asparagus to America in 1794, right here in small, scenic and altogether remarkable West Brookfield.
Diederick, The Dutch envoy to Massachusetts and New Hampshire in the 1780s-90s missed his homeland favorite, so he ordered that some asparagus roots be brought here on the next ship. The rest is truly history - he shared his crop with the notable Dwight Foster, his friend and neighbor, who was doubtless in need of a spring tonic - he'd helped his father write the Massachusetts Constitution back in the day. Then, In Diederick's day, Dwight had been busy with his law practice, managing properties and making West Brookfield and the world a better place. Well we know Diederick invited Dwight to lunch... Word - and seed undoubtedly spread with the wind across the common and Foster Hill, and the crop - and the town - flourished.
From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. there's a lively agenda in place, and it's all free and open to the public. Bring the kids, the grandparents, the whole family, or neighborhood, to browse for plants and pleasurable things, enjoy the music, and, of course, venture down the enticing Asparagus Alley. There you will savor the justly- famous asparagus chowder; in fact, a tasty array of dishes dedicated to the delicately delectable vegetable. Meanwhile, the church ladies serve up their home baked pies; the men stay busy at the grill with burgers, dogs, sausage and such. Lunch and munch to the music of Dick Chase and friends as you witness the joy of this day.
Bring your own frogs to jump their way to victory - the contest is scheduled for 1:30. Artisans will demonstrate - you may wish to help the blacksmith make a nail and stamp it with your initials. Artists will discuss their work and techniques as you admire affordable art you can take home. There are photo ops everywhere, and music - just pull up a hay bale, sit and listen - and did we mention the glorious food? The honeys, jams, maple syrup. Love in a jar or bottle.
Youngsters and the young at heart will be charmed by the Clowning for Kidz bus full of clowns - the yellow bus, sporting myriads of balloons, will enliven the afternoon with its cargo - more than a dozen clowns, ready to amaze and amuse with frolicsome entertainment throughout the day. There a free kids' games all day long, face painting and fun arts and crafts. New this year is a dunking tank - the coaches of the town's youth baseball and softball teams will sit in (what they hope will be) the hot seat.
The popular festival began as a friendly, small town happening, sponsored by the Quaboag Historical Society and the West Brookfield Historical Commission, twelve years ago. A local woman volunteered to cook her special chowder. Pies were baked, other savories served. Growers brought plants, flowers, honeys and so on. Artists, artisans and crafts people brought unique and lovely items to purchase and admire; animals, raised for food, fun or textiles abounded - they still do. Music accompanied the myriad activities, the bustling, busy, happy day of celebrating the earth's goodness and its promise. And when the day ended, everyone knew the event was a keeper.
In the ensuing dozen years, word has spread; offerings and participants have multiplied. This year welcomes a pleasing blend of returning and new vendors, something fresh and appealing for everyone. But there's one old thing we're just so pleased with and proud of, we think it deserves special mention.
The splendid fountain and smaller drinking fountain that have adorned our common for more than a century have received major repairs and restoration. As you approach the common, at the junction of Routes 9 and 67, where all roads will surely lead on May 17, be sure to admire the beautiful forms of "our ladies" arrayed and adorned just as they were when George Merritt Rice donated the town's centerpiece in 1885. Rest awhile on the new benches, donated by appreciative townspeople in memory of loved ones. Witness the colorful whirl of families enjoying a quintessential event in this very special place. Perhaps you should mark the date on your calendar right now. You won't want to miss it!
There is no rain date.
More Information: Website: http://asparagusfestival.blogspot.com
E-mail: amydugas@charter.net
Phone: 508-867-5428
Entered by: Ruth M. Lyon (ntiques@aol.com)

Created: March 26, 2014 at 3:31 PM
Last Modified: March 26, 2014 at 4:22 PM

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