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Events around the World Which Celebrate the Wonderful Carrot

Several countries have an annual event to celebrate the glorious carrot, usually in a growing region. In addition there is an organisation which celebrates International Carrot Day every year on 4 April - here.

Here are the ones which have become known to the World Carrot Museum.

The Carrot Museum Road Show has had exhibitions at the Royal Horticultural Society, Harlow Carr Gardens for the past few years, also at the Yorkshire Show Ground. Visit the dedicated pages here. Talks to schools, local societies and institutions are given on a regular basis, please e-mail the Museum if you would like a show or talk about carrots. Also anyone interested in holding an event in the UK, please get in touch.

Have a look at the Boston Vegetarian Society, which holds its Annual Food Festival in October and has a carrot in its main logo.  They even produced a special carrot T-shirt!  Click here for more.


The Holtville Annual Carrot Festival - January/February

Holtville in California, USA, calls itself the "Carrot Capital of the World" and to acknowledge such a prestigious title it holds the Annual Carrot Festival. The year 2007 saw the holding of the 60th festival, organised by the Chamber of Commerce, in late January. They refer to it as "The Annual Community salute to the carrot".  The Festival took place on February 2nd to February 11th. See the full story and pictures of the Carrot Museum's visit here.

Holtville is on the east side of Imperial Valley, in the area's most fertile agricultural region, producing quality crops of carrots, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, melons, wheat and cotton. The Carrot Festival comprises a week long schedule of events, culminating in hugely entertaining Carnival from noon until 10 p.m.

The Festival Parade takes place mid-week and features schoolchildren, bands, floats, antique cars, equestrians, the Festival Queen, the Princess and Junior Princess. You can even have some carrot ice cream there, strictly during festival week!

Other intriguing events include, cookery contests, a golf tournament, two more carnivals a Student Art Show, Entertainment in the park and an Arts and Craft Fair.

All in all a thoroughly good time is plainly had by everyone, long may it continue.

The Holtville Chamber of Commerce's web site is: here

Learn more about the Carrot Festival and other Events at the Holtville CA web site here.

2014 schedule here 

Local newspaper report here.  The 2014 Festival dates are 31 Jan - 9 Feb. The big weekend is the 8th & 9th.


The Annual Carrot Fest - Bradford West Gwillimbury, Ontario, Canada - August

For the latest information do visit Bradford's Festival Website here.

Photos of previous events here. 2010 here  Video of 2011 event here (Youtube)

One of Canada's biggest carrot producing areas is Bradford, where, every year the Annual Carrot Fest takes place.
It celebrates the area's agricultural heritage and the important role played by the carrot in the economy. Bradford West Gwillimbury alone supplies Ontario with 99% of all of their carrots AND onions! This means that Bradford also supplies Canada with 50% of their carrots and 60% of their onions

Here is a sample of what the crazy locals get up to !! See the report of John's visit in 2006 - HERE.

The local newspaper report of the day's event can be seen here.

See the Carrot Fest Flyer for 18 August 2007 HERE


Fête de la Carotte - Annual Carrot Festival  - Croissy sur Seine - September

A tradition since 1860!

At the end of the 18th century, Croissy discovered a vocation for itself as a gardening village located 12 kilometers from the main food markets of Paris (the main one in Paris is known as Les Halles). Thanks to a predominantly sandy terrain, a plain which is sheltered from the western winds, and underlying ground water (possibly an aquifer), the village very rapidly became the queen of the markets - and remained so until the 1970’s.  It gained a reputation for her famous vegetables used in making pot-au-feu, of which the carrot was of superior quality.

In 1860, the first community festival of Croissy was held. With the rapid development of market gardening, Croissy became the natural choice for the festival of the carrot. The queen of the markets has therefore been celebrated for nearly 150 years in Croissy every second weekend of September.

6, 7 and 8 September 2008

It is the traditional festival of Croissy sur Seine, "carrot capital" since the mid  19th century. As ancestral home to the vegetable which once gave glory to this former market-gardening town, Croissy pays homage to the carrot with an annual festival held on  the second weekend of September.
 

The itinerary includes a torchlight procession, fireworks, evening DJ, mass of the 'Saint Fiacre', procession of floats, the traditional great meal “beef carrots”, a forum of local associations and a fun fair,

A procession of carrot objects is held, basically anything which moves! -    bicycles, child's scooters, wheelbarrows, soapboxes, electric wheelchairs , mobility scooters, skate boards, rollers blades and so on.

See the full story and pictures of the Carrot Museum's visit in 2007 here.

See the Carrot Festival Flyer for 2007 HERE

Click here to see more photos of this great festival from previous years.


 The Annual Carrot Carnival - Ohakune, New Zealand - July or October (alternates)

The Ohakune "O"

 

Over to Ohakune in New Zealand where The Big Carrot was set up in September 1984, a symbol of the pioneering work of the early Chinese market gardeners and today's entrepreneurial growers who have developed thriving business in hard times with plenty of mud, slush, cold and rain. The carrot is 5.791 metres tall!

Ohakune comes from the Maori translation meaning "Place To Be Careful."

HOT NEWS the 2014 Carrot Festival is on Sunday 1 June - website here.


See the full story and pictures of the Carrot Museum's visit in 2009 here.

The Carrot Carnival in Ohakune celebrates the important role the colourful, tasty, famous plays in the life and livelihood of the Ohakune community. The first Carrot Carnival was held in 1990 in an effort to provide a fun occasion for the local children and encourage people to support their local retailers. Each year the carnival has become a little bigger, a little better and a little better known and always the weather has been cold, wet, windy or all three but this does not dampen the enthusiasm of the organisers or participants.

The day starts off with a market with local organisations and also visitors having stalls which range from the local food through to a blacksmith working on a forge. Entertainment is provided by local as well as visiting artists, demonstrations by local organizations, Karate, Aerobics, Children’s Dance, competitions run by retailers for best decorated shop windows, Carrot poems, Vegetable sculptures, wearable art, a shoppers draw (usually $1000), and last but not least, the parade of floats, horses and horse drawn vehicles, trucks, tractors and all other forms of motor vehicles.

New Zealand's premier landmark has been named - and it's not the harbour bridge or Sky Tower. It's not even the Viaduct Harbour or One Tree Hill. It's a park in New Plymouth.  Pukekura Park and its two-month festival of lights has won the prime Mayfair spot on the new Monopoly, Here and Now New Zealand board.

The provincial park knocks off Auckland's Queen St, which held the top spot for 21 years. Rangitoto Island takes the neighbouring Park Lane square, the only Auckland feature to make the board. The Viaduct, Sky Tower and bridge were all nominated by local authorities.

John (5 ft 11 - 1.8 metres tall), alongside the biggest carrot statue in the world. Approximately 5.791 meters tall!!

Ohakune Carrot Statue



But in public voting, the vibrant America's Cup venue was beaten by a big carrot and an oversize kiwifruit.

The Ohakune and Te Puke landmarks were winners in the quirky kiwiana section.

Carnival  Web site here.

Top left shows the flag presented to the Carrot Museum during the visit in 2009.

..... and when the Rugby World Cup arrived in 2011..... the carrot, chamelion-like changes its colour! (right hand photo, back to orange in 2012).

 


Annual Carrot Festival - Creances France - August

The small town of Creances in Normandy, France celebrates the apiaceae family - or the humble carrot.  Créances is on the West coast of the Cotentin peninsula, about ten miles north of Coutances. The population of the village is about two thousand in the winter, perhaps five thousand in the Summer, and a whole lot more on the second Saturday in August, when the whole region turns up to celebrate the Feast of the Carrot. Sadly it is not quite the event it could be, read more on the Museum report.

Some sample pictures of the Creances Fetes de la Carotte are shown below, for a full report and lots more pictures of the Carrot Museum visit in 2009 click here.

The Schedule of events flier (in French) is here.  The Fete programme is here.

The inhabitants of Créances have been known for growing a whole range of different vegetables since the 13th Century. Carrots, leeks, beetroot and salsify grow in the "mielles" ( little fields), a sandy area close to the sea. The reclaimed beaches have been  constant applications of seaweed. After a few centuries of this, the soil is rich, deep and incredibly fertile, and produces leeks, onions, pumpkins, shallots, and above all the finest carrots in France. 

As growing conditions improved, from about 1919 the local population started selling their produce at markets in the area and as far away as Paris.

Growing carrots took off in a big way once a market garden co-operative was created in 1943. Thanks to the persistence of its members, the quality "Label Rouge" mark was awarded in 1962 to carrots grown in Créance’s sandy soil and since 1990 the town has organised a special festival dedicated to its "queen of vegetables", held every second Saturday in August.

Eight years ago Créances was granted the only Appelation d'origine for carrots. Go into any supermarket and you will see French carrots marked either "Origine France" or "Origine Créances". The town produces high-quality vegetables, carrots in particular, and every year the local farming community congregates to celebrate its terroir and the local produce with performances, a market, food stalls and music.

It takes place on the second Saturday of every August and admission is free!

There are floats piled high with produce, contests for the finest (judged on taste, not size), and the ceremonies and procession of the Confrérie des Môgeous de la Bonne Carotte des Sables. Môgeou is a local word, part of the patois that calls the village Crianches. In plain fact, it means mangeur, eater; but in this context its nearest English equivalent would be Panjandrum. The Panjandra of Créances wear carrot-coloured robes and (of course) green hats.

The programme includes a parade of carrot growers, the "Mougeous d’Carottes", a cooking competition, a fair open to everyone and musical entertainment.  Every year about 25,000 visitors come to join in the fun.

The Fête de la Carotte is principally a big excuse to sell things to each other. Five hundred stalls line all the streets of the centre, some run by professional junk dealers, some by individuals clearing their attics.

The Second Saturday of every August. 2013 - 10 August. (details here)


Aurau, Switzerland - November

Always on the first Wednesday in November, the town of Aarau, in Switzerland - known as  "The town of beautiful gables" holds its annual  "Rüeblimart" (Carrot market).  The first one was held in 1981.

The legend of Rüeblimärt - About 25 years a ago a couple in the Aargauer restaurant “Monkeys box” were having a glass of beer and discussing with their friends about the Zibelemärit held in Berne every year (Onion Market). They decided that Aarau could also organize a vibrant and successful market in their City to match what was happening in Berne and so the Rüeblimärt was born.

The first Rüeblimärt was a modest affair produced with little publicity or advertising and about 30 stalls took part, offering a wide variety of the vegetables grown in the region, together with decorative items. The public interest was so great that by 11 clock in the morning all the stalls were empty!. No one had expected such a success. It has since always been held on the first Wednesday in November, in the Old City Aarau market place, from 7.30 am and over 140 stalls ply their wares and it attracts of 35000 visitors.. A wide variety of goods are sold, carrot cheese, tea, preserves, crafts, pastries, bread, honey, eggs, clothes, crafts and of course every colour of carrots!

Aarau is a beautiful place - within minutes you can be by the river Aare, in the Jura hills, in the city or going on the Intercity train somewhere; or you can be on the "Riviera" in one of the many pub gardens in Schachen.  Also close by is Windisch, a Roman town formerly called Vindinissa and where you can see many remains including the ampitheatre.

Aarau is an attractive location in many different respects. The town is situated between Basel, Berne, Lucerne and Zurich.
Aarau is certainly picturesque with many painted gable roofs on the numerous houses in the Old Town which are unique.

Some sample pictures of the Rueblimart are shown below, for a full report of the Carrot Museum visit in 2008 click here.

The day the town turns into Carrot wonderland and all manner of baked carrot products -  carrot cakes, carrot muffins, carrot bread, carrot soup, carrot jam, carrot cheese, are on display, to sample and buy. Also ornaments, musical instruments and carrot tea!

Also, of course carrots of every colour!

 


Turkey - June

The Carrot and Stew Festival is held every first weekend of June.  The full name of festival is Beypazarı Havuç, Güveç (Traditional Dish ), Handcraft and Traditional Houses. The area surrounding Beypazarı produces 70 percent of the carrot needs for Turkey.

The Carrot Museum attempted to visit the Festival in June 2011. Despite confirmation in advance from the Turkish Tourism Ministry and local checking, upon arrival the Festival had been cancelled due to Turkish national elections.

Read more with photos here.

 


New York - Schenectady County

The County holds its Annual Carrot Festival in September.

What's all the fuss about Carrots in New York?  and why a Festival? 

Begun in 1978 as a modest farmers market, Congregation Agudat Achim’s annual mid-September Carrot Festival has evolved into an eagerly awaited mega-autumn harvest fair and community carnival, featuring arts, crafts, games and musical entertainment. Huge crowds from all over New York and surrounding states spill across the expansive front lawn of the synagogue to enjoy wonderful food cooked al fresco. The visitors stroll among artists’ and crafters’ stalls and display tables piled high with succulent produce trucked in from nearby Schoharie Valley farms.

If you like fun and music, carrot cakes, carrot bagels and other carrot goodies, Multi-cultural foods, and if you are looking for children's activities and a chance to buy plants and farm-fresh produce, and to shop at 50 craft booths, you'll love the Schenectady County Carrot  Festival. Held whether it rains or shines!!

Over 25 years ago one of the local farmers and some of his friends thought they could have a celebration that featured their farm's most important crop - the CARROT. Since then the carrots have kept growing and so has the FESTIVAL. Today it is one of the area's most popular September activities.

Previous Carrot Festivals have featured - the 5K Carrot Run, and the business and professional tent fresh organic produce from Schoharie County; honey and plants; over 40 craft tables; fun for the kids; and, of course, the Walking Carrot.  Sounds like great fun!

The festival’s crowning glory is its incomparable slate of carrot-based baked goods, the festival’s signature carrot cakes, crowned by a heavenly two-layer praline filled carrot cake, topped with a lush cream cheese frosting. The other carrot cakes are prepared non dairy. They include applesauce carrot cake, banana chocolate chip carrot cake, zucchini carrot loaf, chunky apple cake, traditional carrot strudel, contemporary apple carrot strudel and pineapple carrot cake with streusel topping.


Georgia, USA May

Check out the Echols Annual Carrot Festival, held each May.  Here.

Fun for all the family. "Carrot Capital of the South".


Portugal, January

In Castro Verde, Portugal every January, the Purple Carrot Fayre takes place consisting of market stall down to Ermida do Santo. Tradition says that the pigs should be slaughtered and the land tilled and ploughed before this date. (no further information)


Kalfresh, Queensland,Australia

Not necessarily a festival but more a celebration of carrots!

Carrot Growers Kalfresh from Australia hold a Carrot Field Day as part of the Council's Eat Local Week activities. in July 5.

The event includes a carrot factory tour, pick your own carrots, a tractor ride, a free bag of carrots and a sausage sizzle!

Fun for all the family. Also meet the carrot growing gurus. A chance for "City Folk" to experience what actually happens in the countryside.

More at the Kalfresh website here.

Here is some background, provided by Kalfresh -

"We decided it was a good way of connecting with the end users of our product and showing them in an enjoyable way how we grow fresh vegetables and why they should support local Australian produce sold at sustainable prices.

We did the first field day as an experiment and it was very warmly received. It's been growing ever since and all the guys from the farms and the factory love meeting the customers and take great pride in showing off the trucks, the tractors and the carrots."

The Boston Vegetarian Society

The Society seeks to make a better world for people, animals, and the earth through advancing a healthful vegetarian diet and a compassionate ethic. They provide education, encouragement, and community support for vegetarians and for anyone wishing to learn more about a healthy, environmentally friendly and humane way of life.

BVS organizes a variety of popular events, and hope everyone will join in! They offer cooking classes, monthly speaker events and dinners, holiday events, special outings, outreach, and more! The events are open and welcoming to all, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. They also organize the annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival, one of the largest vegetarian events in the world. john had the privilege of visiting one of the Society dinners in August 2006 and acquired an unusual manner - see below.

 See the BVS website here.

Here is the magnificent t-shirt they produced for the 2005 Food Festival.

Sample of the Boston Food Festival T-Shirt

This is "Sparkle" who kindly swapped (out in the street!) his unique carrot shirt with John at the BVS Carrot Dinner.

 


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