Dorset's world-famous 'knob throwing' festival is CANCELLED

Knob contest gets TOO BIG: Dorset’s famous knob-throwing festival is CANCELLED because organisers can’t cope with 8,000 visitors to village

    A famous ‘Knob Throwing’ festival has been cancelled because it has become too big for the village to handle.

    Organisers of the annual event in Dorchester, Dorset, said it attracted more than 8,000 people from across Britain in its most recent year in 2019 and is therefore now too popular to be run by a small village committee.

    The Dorset Knob Throwing festival, which was first held in 2008, brings together people of all ages to throw hard biscuits – known as ‘knobs’ – with judges then measuring them to see who can throw theirs the furthest.

    It has become massively popular in recent years – and officials added that they were also facing a knob supply issue, saying ‘agreements to provide the biscuits for the event’s games also took much longer than anticipated’.

    Young and old competitors in the most recent Dorset Knob Throwing festival in Dorchester which took place on May 5, 2019

    The last Dorset Knob Throwing festival took place in Dorchester on May 5, 2019 and attracted up to 8,000 people

    Competitors in the Dorset Knob Throwing championships on May 1, 2016 – an annual event which has been held since 2009

    Competitors in the knob eating championships on May 1, 2016 which took place as part of the Dorset Knob Throwing festival

    The Knob Throwing and Frome Valley Food Festival was originally due to be held on May 1 this year, but an update was issued on the Dorset Knob Throwing Facebook page on Monday to confirm it had been cancelled.

    The post read: ‘It is with great sadness that the Dorset Knob Throwing and Frome Valley Food Festival is unable to go ahead on 1 May 2022.

    Dorset knobs Dry biscuits loved by Thomas Hardy

    A Dorset knob is a dry, savoury, biscuit that has been made by Moores for more than 150 years and was reportedly a favourite snack of Thomas Hardy.

    They are made from leftover bread dough, with added sugar and butter and rolled and shaped by hand.

    The thrice-baked snack is crumbly and dry.

    It is believed the name comes from Dorset knob buttons, another traditionally handmade good. However, some theorise it is before they are often compared in shape and size to door knobs.

    They can be eaten with cheese, dipped in tea or cider, or with honey and tea which is known as ‘thunder and lightning’ by locals.

    ‘We had over 8,000 people attend the 2019 event, meaning it has reached such a size that it simply cannot be run by a small village committee.

    ‘We’ve looked at various options but sadly couldn’t make any of them work for this year for many reasons.

    ‘We also sadly lost the support of our event management team late in 2021 and agreements with Moores Biscuits to provide the biscuits for the event’s games also took much longer than anticipated.’

    The competition has been scrapped over the past two years during the pandemic, but the committee – which is chaired by Alexandra Watts – added in the post: ‘We hope the event can return in years to come.’

    It is traditionally held on the first Sunday in May in Dorchester, with rules saying competitors must throw their knobs under-arm with at least one foot remaining on the ground.

    As well as knob throwing, people can take part in knob nibbling, knob painting, a knob and spoon race, guess the weight of the big knob, knob darts and a knob pyramid.

    The annual event raises thousands of pounds for good causes, and the Frome Valley Food Festival runs alongside it, featuring local bread, cheese, cider, meat, game, poultry, pies, preserves and puddings.

    Knobs used in the contest are a traditional Dorset biscuit made using fermented dough and given three separate bakings – with Mrs Watts previously describing it as a ‘zany, quintessentially British event’.

    The festival has had troubles before – with the 2018 event was cancelled following a dispute with Moores, creators of the famous Dorset Knob biscuit, but it was resolved and the 2019 contest went ahead.

    Dorset Knobs are traditionally a dry, savoury biscuit eaten with cheese.

    The Dorset Knob Throwing festival, pictured being held in May 2019, brings together people of all ages to throw hard biscuits

    The annual event raises thousands of pounds for good causes, and the Frome Valley Food Festival runs alongside it

    Competitors throw their knobs in the Dorset Knob Throwing competition on May 3, 2009 which was then in its second year 

    An update was issued on the Dorset Knob Throwing Facebook page on Monday to confirm the 2022 event had been cancelled

    In 2017 there was also trouble when rainy weather made the biscuits soggy and heavier and harder to throw, so the furthest any of the competitors could throw their knob fell well short of the world record.

    Eventual winner Pete Asher did well in the cold and wet conditions to hurl his knob 22.70m (74.4ft), some way short of the record set at 29.4m (96ft) by Dave Phillips in 2012.

    Knobs have been baked by Moores of Morecombelake for more than 150 years. They were originally made from leftover bread dough with added butter and sugar, before hand-rolled into buns and left to dry in the dying heat of the oven.

    Their name is thought to originate from the hand-sewn Dorset knob buttons that were also made locally. They can be eaten with cheese, dipped in tea or cider, or with honey and tea which is known as ‘thunder and lightning’ by locals. 

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