The Thrifty New England Traveler is a blog of VisitingNewEngland.com, the travel site for New England.

West Brookfield, Mass., Asparagus and Flower Heritage Festival, May 21, 2011

Maypole Dance at the Asparagus and Flower Heritage Festival. Photo, courtesy of Melinda Czub

Editor’s note: West Brookfield,  located in central Massachusetts, is simply one of New England’s hidden travel gems. Unspoiled, friendly and quintessentially New England, West Brookfield features a beautiful town common, many homes and municipal buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, beautiful Lake Wickaboag, the charming Salem Cross Inn restaurant, Howard’s Drive-in for some lobster rolls and ice cream, and tree-lined residential streets that will warm your heart. It is Mayberry RFD with a New England accent!

A pride and joy of the town is the spring time Asparagus and Flower Heritage Festival held annually at the Town Common. We think this free, locally-beloved event will only enhance your experience in this special town. Read on to find out what’s it’s all about (and thanks to Committee member Dick Rossman for granting permission for us to run the following information)…

Now in its ninth year, the West Brookfield Asparagus and Flower Heritage Festival will be held on Saturday 21st May 2011 from 10:00 am to 4:00pm. A highlight of the Spring calendar, join in on the fun, festivities and food on the West Brookfield Town Common, Routes 9 and 67, while we celebrate all things asparagus, flowers and heritage. The event is proudly sponsored by the Quaboag Historical Society and the West Brookfield Historical Commission. In the event of rain the festival is scheduled for Sunday 22nd May 2011.

Asparagus is celebrated in West Brookfield for its long seeded roots in the town. The story goes that in 1790 Deiderick Leertouwer, a Dutch Consul, was sent to the new state of Massachusetts and New England to promote trade. Settling in West Brookfield, legend has it that he missed his beloved asparagus so much that he had roots shipped over, which he then planted near Foster Hill. Asparagus patches appear each Spring with several people claiming to have the original patch!

Stroll amongst the stalls of over 100 local growers, artisans, businesses and organizations. Live music will be provided by musicians Dick Chase and Samantha Gillogly, with a Maypole Dance at 1:00pm followed by a bring-your-own Frog Jumping Contest at 1:30pm. Kids can meet magician Ed the Wizard and join in on the many free activities that will take place throughout the day. Enjoy lunch in Asparagus Alley where a variety of asparagus dishes will be available in addition to other lunch selections. You can even pick up a locally produced asparagus cookbook so you can enjoy this wonderful vegetable at home.

For more information on the event, email Melinda Czub.

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