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Worm hunters to be dressed for Wild West

Blackawton’s annual worm-charming fun is going wild, with a rootin’ tootin’ Wild West theme for this year’s worm round-up.
The 30-year-old worm-charming festival, which last year was named as ‘Europe’s Most Unmissable Festival’, is all set to go ahead on Sunday, May 3, with hundreds of worm hunters expected to descend on the village.
This year the contest is likely to become a game of cowboys and Indians as hunters get rigged out in stetsons and feathers for the Wild West Worms fancy dress theme.
International Worm Charming Festival cheat Peter Hathaway said: ‘We’re expecting a plethora of things relating to the Wild West and we’re hoping to have some country and western music and a line-dancing band. Or people could come dressed for what could just as easily be a “Wild Westcountry” theme.
‘Whatever it is, we want to ­continue the theme of staging a really great fun day out for families all the way through.’
Last year more than 600 people poured into the village of Blackawton to watch the wacky festival, while more than 90 teams of three worm hunters took part in the competition, with some coming from as far away as Germany and Austria.
The fun event raised more than £3,200 last year, the largest amount in the festival’s history.
The money was shared out between various causes, which included £1,500 for the Devon Air Ambulance; £500 for Help the Heroes; £250 for the Blackawton Community Shop; £250 towards the village annual fireworks display; £250 to the Breakthrough charity; £250 to Dartmouth Young Farmers, who help with the car park ­marshalling each year; and £50 to the African Queen appeal involving the boat fire disaster on the River Dart at Dartmouth.
This year the festival will once again be fundraising for the Devon Air Ambulance, with other local charities being picked after the fun.
And again, the location of the four-acre field that will be used as the worm-charming site is being kept a closely guarded secret until the day of the event.
The worm charming kicks off at 12.45pm with a procession through the village.
The day’s events will include church-bell ringing, stalls, morris dancing, maypole dancing, donkey rides, a dog show, a fancy dress competition, community choir singing, live music and a charity auction at the George Inn during the evening.
Peter said that last year the auction raised almost £2,000 in just a two-hour period.

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