THE ANNUAL Vale of Evesham festival celebrating delicious British asparagus will be on track for a new adventure next week when it steams along a heritage railway from Broadway to Cheltenham.

The Great British Asparagus Festival starts on St George’s Day (Monday April 23), which is also the first ever National Asparagus Day.

The party starts at The Fleece Inn, Bretforton, where Morris Dancers will be giving a jolly display and all the pupils from Bretforton School, who will be marking St George’s Day, will be dressed in green and donning asparagus headwear to help get everyone in the mood.

Bretforton school headmaster Kevin Riley said: “All of the children at Bretforton Village School are very excited about the Asparagus Express train journey that they will be taking next week.

“It is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate St George's Day, which the children have been learning about in school, and also to celebrate the start of the asparagus season in the Vale of Evesham.

“The whole school will be supporting this extremely important local event and we are looking forward to an exciting and very different school day.”

The first-cut round of asparagus is the centre of festivities that also include a blessing and a special ode.

The usual British Asparagus Festival characters – Gus the Asparagusman, the Asparamancer and St George – will be creating the usual fun and quirky atmosphere and the first-cut round of gras from Birlingham Nurseries will be taken in a Morgan Car on its first leg of the Asparagus Run. Other asparagus on the day will come from Revills Farm Shop, Defford.

Each year the round of gras is taken on a special journey as part of the festivities. In previous years it has gone to the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Fortnum and Mason, Leicester due to its connection with the Battle of Evesham and Simon de Montfort and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Last year the Asparagus Run went from The Fleece to Worcester Cathedral for a blessing, where Gus in his green asparagus-shaped outfit, caused a bit of a stir among some Christian groups.

This year’s run will see the huge round of asparagus on a Royal Worcester plate transported from The Fleece in the traditional Morgan car to the newly re-opened Broadway Station where it will board the Asparagus Express steam train and head along the volunteer-run heritage railway to Cheltenham.

Officials and guests will be treated to music and entertainment at Broadway Station, on board the train and at Cheltenham Racecourse station where they will also be treated to a special aspara-breakfast.

Broadway Station re-opened after being closed for 58 years on March 30 thanks to the hard work of volunteer members of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway.

At Cheltenham Racecourse station the asparagus and its entourage will be met by Bobby the AsparaHorse and representatives of the Cotswold Riding for the Disabled Association, who will accept the round of gras. They hope to auction this to raise funds for their charity.

While the steam train returns to Broadway, guests will be taken to the Riding for the Disabled building to watch a musical ride performed at one of their schools.

The 2018 British Asparagus Festival runs from Monday April 23 until Thursday June 21, when the Vale of Evesham goes greener than usual. This is the 10th anniversary and there will be Asparabus Tours – complete with Asparaguides – on Thursdays May 10 and 17.

The tours give people an opportunity to enjoy an asparagus experience with an entertaining insight into the majestic green vegetable.

On Sunday May 20 there will be an Asparagus Family Colour Fun Run from The Valley, Evesham, WR11 4TP and participants can expect to finish green even if they don’t start it that colour. Asparagus green paint bombs will be waiting for fun-loving runners.

On Sunday May 27 and Sunday June 3 the famous Fleece Inn Asparagus auctions will take place with Bretforton Silver Band entertaining the crowds.

The festival concludes with the National Morris Weekend from Friday June 16 until Sunday June 18. There is a range of entertainment and fun activities to enjoy and to get details visit