With Thriplow Daffodil Weekend poised to return with a flurry of colour and fun, Cyrus Pundole discovers what’s in store
The blooming marvellous Thriplow Daffodil Weekend, one of the biggest community and charity events in the area, returns on 23 and 24 March. Around 14,000 people are expected to descend on the picturesque south Cambridgeshire village for the spectacle, which will see the whole area go car-free for the weekend.
The spring flowers bring warmth and colour after the long winter, and the dedicated team of 350 volunteers from the village and surrounding areas will be crossing their fingers for fair weather.
Last year was a little challenging, with snow over the weekend following the end of the Beast from the East shortly before the event. It was the coldest daffodil weekend for 50 years. Nevertheless, there were still thousands of visitors, meaning that charities benefitted to the tune of at least £18,000.
The nominated charity is Rosie Maternity Hospital, with Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust keen to raise funds for essential equipment needed by the Acute Neonatal Transport Service (ANTS) and the neonatal intensive care unit, to help support newborn and vulnerable babies across the East of England.
Visitors park up just outside Thriplow to stroll briefly through the lanes (often with sheep and lambs heard bleating in the background) before getting to the heart of the village, full of stalls, rides and tasty eats. This year there are 15 new heritage varieties among the 100 types of daffodils – with organisers confirming the first buds were spotted by early January. Expect to see dog agility displays, Morris dancing, steam engines, classic cars, face painting, traditional crafts displays, animal displays, live music and all things street food at the Taste of Thriplow, with everything from curries and tapas to cakes and tea.
There are also events and stalls in a marquee next to the school, which is where you will find the arts and crafts stalls and a children’s area.
Grab a programme to help you find the various different areas of the festival. In the Country Thriplow section, drive mini Land Rovers and watch a dog hay bale run, a family dog show and (Sunday only) a gun dog scurry. There will also be birds of prey and you can try your hand at archery. Live music can be found at The Green Man pub, there’s a tea room in the village hall and you can find blacksmith demonstrations in The Smithy (where else!).
If you’re on the lookout for alcohol, the beer tent is at Taste of Thriplow, where, as well as food stalls, there are school recitals and more music, too.
As well as volunteering, many residents take the opportunity to open their gardens to the public too, so visitors can enjoy a stroll around the village.
Organisers take care to ensure that the stalls throughout the village, whether it’s crafts, gifts, food or things for the garden, offer a broad appeal for all ages and tastes.
A family day ticket, for two adults and two children, costs £20 with adults £7.20 and children (5 to 16) £3.60 – prices include a 10% discount for buying your tickets in advance via the website.