Rhubarb rules the roost as Wakefield celebrates crop

Ruby Rhubarb at the Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb.
Ruby Rhubarb at the Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb.
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Rhubarb is once again the stalk of the town in Wakefield this weekend as the city celebrates its most famous produce.

The annual Festival of Food Drink and Rhubarb attracts tens of thousands of people to the district every year.

This year’s sixth annual festival saw a giant inflatable dome on the city’s Bull Ring complete with inflatable rhubarb stalks, market stalls and tours of the famous forcing sheds in Carlton.

The showpiece Wakefield Council festival began yesterday on the city’s Cathedral Precinct.

The opening day, led by event mascot Ruby Rhubarb, included a cooking demonstration and writer Elaine Lemm signing copies of her book, The Great Book of Rhubarb.

Festival mascot Ruby will also be hosting a jewellery-making workshop for children tomorrow from 12.45pm.

Children’s TV duo Roobarb and Custard have also been making appearances at the Trinity Walk shopping centre throughout the three-day event to raise money for the PDSA vets charity.

And the Cricketers Arms in Horbury will set up a beer tent in the Bull Ring, showcasing local breweries’ beers, including Five Towns’ Roo-Barb and Fernandes’s Rhubarb Bitter.

Arriva buses have also been sporting the festival logo in the run-up to the weekend.

The council’s cabinet member for culture, Coun David Dagger, said last year’s festival attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the district, pumping huge amounts of cash into the local economy.

He said: “Local people are extremely proud of the district’s rhubarb heritage and this festival is a chance for them to celebrate this with friends, family and visitors.”

Wakefield Music Collective’s Rhubarb Rocks event will take place tonight (February 25)from 8pm at the Bull and Fairhouse pub, which will include performances by local bands The Sinners and The Rocketeers. Local acts were also playing at Rhubarbash, at the Ridings this morning (Febraury 25).

For a full schedule of events for the festival, visit: www.experiencewakefield.co.uk

Peter McNestry, chair of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust

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