When: 3rd May 2015, from 11am
Where: Blackawton, Devon
What is it?
This year the Blackawton International Festival of Wormcharming will take place on Sunday 3rd May. The 31st annual event will have the theme of Wild West Worms. So if you fancy taking part, you’d better grab yourself a Stetson! There are prizes for the best costumes, so the more effort you put in the better.
Blackawton has held an annual worm charming event since 1984 and it has gone from strength to strength every year. The day will begin at 11am, gathering outside the Normandy Arms. Charmers must be registered by 12 noon (this takes place by the bus stop). Then there will be a parade through Blackawton village, lead by the May Princess and Blackawton Morris, with stops for maypole dancing and the ‘Toasting of the Worm’. For the toast, the ‘Worm Master’ will invite everyone to raise their glasses to the worm. The procession will finish at a secret venue, ready for the worm charming.
How does the competition work? Teams are given a one metre square plot and are allowed 5 minutes to ‘worm up’ before being given 15 minutes to get as many worms ‘charmed’ out of the ground as possible. Digging and forking is not permitted.
Each worm charming team is made up of three members; a Charmerer, a Pickerer and a Counterer. Beware, any competitors caught cheating will be put in the stocks or publicly humiliated!
The worm charming officials are made up of the Worm Master, who presides over the festival, and the International Judge, who makes sure the rules are upheld. Then there is the Official Cheat, who tempts entrants to cheat by offering them worms. Finally, there is Old Father Worm Charming, who offers advice and guidance to the worm charmers.
The winner of the worm charming contest will get their name inscribed on a special shield alongside the previous winners. There are also special worm charming medals for the winners.
After the worm charming event, at 2pm, there will be a dog show with classes for the waggiest tail, scruffiest dog, appealing-eyed dog, best handled dog, and the best Wild West fancy dressed dog of course. The dog show costs £1 per dog for each class entered, and all proceeds will go to charity.
Local pub, The George Inn, will also be hosting live music on the day. Bands and artists playing this year include Nauti Buoys, Harbottle & Jonas, Overdriven and Blurred Vision.