If you are looking for something different to do this bank holiday weekend, then why not head to this year’s Blackawton International Festival of Wormcharming?
This unusual contest in Devon challenges teams to ‘charm’ as many worms out of the ground as possible, all whilst wearing fancy dress. As it is 100 years since GCHQ was founded and 30 years since the fall of the Berlin wall, this year’s fancy dress theme is ‘spies’.
This is Blackawton’s 35th wormcharming event and the day begins mid-morning, by gathering outside The George Inn. Charmers must be registered by 12 noon (registration takes place outside the pub from 10am), ready for the procession through the village to the secret wormcharming location.
Those taking part should expect a few stops along the way for a little entertainment and the ‘Toasting of the Worm’. The toast is carried out by the ‘Worm Master’ who will invite everyone to raise their glasses to the worm!
So, how does the competition work? Teams are given a one metre square plot and are allowed five 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 should be 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!
You might see some unusual characters at the event. These are the worm charming officials, 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, a dubious character who will try to tempt the teams to cheat by offering them worms. Finally, there is Old Father Worm Charming, who will offer advice and guidance to the worm charmers.
There will be awards for the team who charm the most worms, the best team name and the best fancy dress outfits.
After the competition, there will be a dog show with prizes for the best spy themed dog costume, waggiest tail and most wonderful ears. There will also be donkey rides and a tipple trailer for refreshments. The George Inn will also be hosting a Beer Festival and live music throughout the day.
When: 5th May 2019
Where: At a secret location in Blackawton, Devon. Gather by The George Inn
£: Entry costs £5 per team. Free to watch
More info: www.wormcharming.co.uk