Mistletoe festival launched
A town is poised to become the kissing capital of Britain by launching a company to promote its mistletoe.
Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire is in the heart of the prime growing area for the white-berried plant.
Dozens of people flock to Tenbury Wells, which is famed for its auctions of the plant, to buy their festive sprigs.
Last year it faced a set back when the livestock market, which also sold mistletoe, was forced to close.
But a group of local businessmen has started the Tenbury English Mistletoe enterprise, which plans to sell £100,000 worth of the crop this year with the help of the internet.
The town usually hosts a sale but has gone one step further this year with a whole host of activities to celebrate its declaration as England’s official mistletoe town.
The first event of the festival, a ball, was held on Saturday night but the festival truly begins on Thursday, when a mistletoe queen will be crowned before the opening of an art exhibition.
Alec Wall, secretary of the firm said, “We are looking to put Tenbury Wells smack back on the map as the mistletoe capital of the world.
“The crop is now selling on the internet at a £1 a bundle at Teme-mistletoe.co.uk .”
Tenbury Wells started selling mistletoe from its famous round market in 1862. The parasitic plant grows on trees and its seeds are spread by birds.
Mistletoe experts Jonathan Briggs, who will be giving talks in the town throughout the week said, “There are many mistletoe traditions and legends, the most obvious being the kissing one. It is probably a remnant of a fertility rite.”