Dramatic weather forecast, dramatic morning sunshine, dramatic anticipation – and this all made a spectacular first time festival of Squash and Pumpkins at Hardwick on Sunday 27 October.
Hosted by Tolhurst Organic , with kind permission of Sir Julian Rose of Hardwick Estate , this event has set the day as one of pure enjoyment and happiness for staff, neighbours, friends, family and visitors from as far as London and Southampton. The festival was supported financially by the Chilterns AONB and Vegan Organic Network .
About 800 people made their way to the Victorian Market Garden, to taste the ten varieties of squash and pumpkins, to enjoy half a dozen of squash dishes, freshly made on premises, to buy from over 25 stall holders and to learn about wildlife, fungi, organic matters and local food.
Says Wendy Tobitt, friend and festival visitor “Congratulations on organising a superb event on Sunday. It must have taken you a lot of work and many anxious times with the weather forecast – in the event you were very lucky!”
Children’s entertainer Darren Hillier AKA Bertie Slippers was very grateful for being part of the event and said “What a lovely day, you should be very proud of all the hard work you put in”.
And Julia Bryan, festival visitor “thought [the] festival was brilliant; a superbly organised, interesting and inspiring event. And the variety and high quality of the refreshments on offer was wonderful. Everything I tasted was exceptionally fresh and delicious. A big thank you to all concerned.”
The aim of the Festival was to celebrate the harvest and splendour of the season, with exhibitions of large pumpkins and most beautiful squash, nature-inspired crafts, live music, autumn dress code, competitions, games, sculptures, food tastings and home-made food and beverages. Admission was free for walkers and cyclists.
Iain Tolhurst, organic grower and host says “The first edition of the Squash & Pumpkin Festival at Hardwick was a community effort with social aims in the local area. It brought the best in all of the local community members and we will grow the event into an annual tradition. Huge thanks to all family, volunteers and staff for their dedication.”