Egremont Crab Fair

The annual Egremont Crab Fair held each September in the Lake District is a 750-year old tradition.

The Lake District in England may be famous for its lakes, mountains and climate, but it also has some quaint local traditions such as Cumbrian wrestling, ferret racing and fell running which are worth a watch. The most entertaining of these are the “Biggest Liar in the World” competition which has a colorful tradition and the World Gurning Championships at the Egremont Crab Fair which was started as a celebration of the completion of harvest.

Biggest Liar in the World Competition: Will Ritson, a 19th century landlord of the Wasdale Head Inn, was renowned as a highly amusing storyteller, counting William Wordsworth and Thomas De Quincey among his audience. Credulous visitors from out of County were enthralled by his account of locally grown giant turnips, which, he said, were of such massive proportions, that villagers would spend weeks carving out edible portions before surrendering the remaining outer skins as shelters for the Herdwick sheep. The popularity of Will’s yarns led to the annual “Biggest Liar in the World” competition, held annually in November at the Bridge Inn, Santon, before an enthusiastic audience well nourished on a menu of “tatie pie” consisting of local mutton, black pudding, potatoes and red cabbage, washed down by some fine locally brewed ale.

Egremont Crab Fair: The Egremont Crab Fair, which has been held annually since 1267 (except the war years), is being held on 21-September this year. Named after the Lord of Egremont’s donation of crab apples, this tradition has continued to this day as the Parade of the Apple Cart, where apples are thrown to the crowds which throng the Main Street. The modern day fair commences with a number of sporting events. The highlight of the fair is the truly unique World Gurning Championship where contestants stand on a stage with a horse collar placed over their head and shoulders, framing the attempts to contort their faces into distorted expressions. Winners of the most bizarre and grotesque faces are decided by the level of audience applause. It is believed that the Lake District in Cumbria is the only place in the world where such a contest is held. Entertainment on the streets, people climbing up greasy poles, motorcycle displays and several events for children makes it a fair time in Egremont.

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