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Posted: 06 June 2011
Blog category: News
The Faversham Hop Festival in Kent, September 3-4, celebrates its 21st anniversary this year and promises to be a jam-packed weekend for the whole family.
The free festival recalls the days when hop-pickers travelled from London by train to take their annual working holiday in the fields of Kent, bringing in the harvest and ending their stay with huge parties.
The carnival-like atmosphere attracts more than 20,000 people, with plenty on offer – street entertainers, the finest local fare, live music and the ever-popular Spitfire steam train.
Sponsors of the event and Britain’s oldest brewer Shepherd Neame, is opening its doors for brewery tours and special hoppers’ lunches over the weekend. Visitors will have the chance to see inside the heart of the working brewery and, of course, enjoy a tutored beer tasting with traditional Kentish ales such as Spitfire and Bishops Finger.
Throughout the market town of Faversham, stalls line the historic streets featuring local food and drink, arts and crafts and even freshly picked hop bines. Three live music stages will showcase folk bands, rocks bands and the best local musicians. Shepherd Neame pubs also host live music over the weekend and Morris dancers perform in the town centre.
Visitors from London on Sunday can choose to travel by Spitfire Steam Train from Victoria, retracing the route of hop-pickers decades earlier. Passengers can enjoy a long afternoon in Faversham soaking up the sights and sounds of the Hop Festival, before returning to London in the evening.
The train, made up of historic carriages from the 1950s and 1960s, features a real ale bar with casks of Shepherd Neame beer, as well as a buffet car serving soft drinks and snacks.
The Steam Train will also make a return trip to Dover, via Canterbury, on Sunday afternoon for people attending the festival.