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Preparations are underway for the 25thFaversham Hop Festival, taking place on Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31.
Britain’s oldest brewer Shepherd Neame, based in the market town, is once again the official partner for the free two-day event, which commemorates the golden days of hop picking in Kent.
It will be sponsoring the Brewery Stage in Court Street, which will feature a diverse range of performances by local musicians on both days, from swing band Goosebumps, to reggae group Ben Russell and The Charmers, and rock and pop covers band Paragraph 1. And they will also have a team of friendly staff on hand to provide you with your favourite Shepherd Neame beer.
Shepherd Neame’s pubs in the town will also be joining in the celebrations, with many hosting live music throughout the weekend.
If you need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the festival, head along to Shepherd Neame’s Old Brewery Store events venue, which is hosting a free exhibition on the history of hops and hop picking in Kent.
Visitors can enjoy browsing hop picking memorabilia and watching historic films of hopping. Some of the brewery’s vintage vehicles will be on show, and the Old Brewery Store bar will be open. The event is taking place from 12 noon to 4pm on Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31.
On both days, some of the brewery’s historic vehicles will feature in the morning parade through the town, which serves to open the event. It starts outside the railway station on both days, leaving at 10am on Saturday, 10.30am on Sunday, and ending at Market Place.
On Sunday, there will be a short Hop Blessing by Reverend Simon Rowlands on the Brewery Stage at 10.45am, before a vintage 1923 Austin 7 Shepherd Neame van will take a beer barrel to the junction of Church Road and Quay Lane where it will be unloaded and rolled along to St Mary of Charity Church, ready for a special service of celebration with Reverend Rowlands at 11am. Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame will be among those giving readings.
Shepherd Neame visitor centre manager Graham Hukins said: “Faversham Hop Festival is a glorious way of celebrating our town’s special heritage, and Shepherd Neame is delighted to be playing such a major part in the 25th anniversary event. We deliberately selected an eclectic mix of musicians for the Brewery Stage, so there will really be something for everyone. We are particularly excited about members of our team rolling a beer barrel up to the church on Sunday morning, as we haven’t done that before and it should provide a real spectacle.”