The Gurning Festival: September
The Cumbrian market town of Egremont comes to life on the 3rd weekend in September. The Gurning Championship and Crab Fair has run annually since 1267, making it one of the oldest in the world.
Traditional events, such as street dancing and grease-pole climbing are de regular. But the big attraction is Gurning. For those not in the know, gurning is pulling a grotesque face, usually jutting the jaw forward, curling the bottom lip as far over the top lip as possible. Having very few teeth seems to be a bonus in the competition!
To get that 'gurned face', try a tart Lemon Drop cocktail which goes nicely with some buttered crab.
La Tomatino Festival: August
Every year (except this one), on the last Wednesday in August, the citizens of Bunol, a small town in Spain, pelt 120 tonnes of tomatoes at each other, for fun.
No one is sure where this tradition originated but it has happened every year since 1945. Some think it was a gang of disgruntled youths, others say it was a band of anti-establishment protestors. Who cares! Its the world's largest food fight!
Let's celebrate the La Tomatina Festival with a Red Snapper!
The Red Snapper is Bloody Mary's more fortunate cousin. This bev substitutes Mary's vodka with gin. The botanicals in gin bring out the richness of the spices and tomato juice.
International Festival of the Month: July
The Festival San Fermin is a week-long celebration that runs every year (except for this year) from the 6th to 14th July in Pamplona, northern Spain.
The festival includes craft fairs, street parties, and the Procession of Giants and BigHeads. During this parade, 25 beloved paper mache characters of kings, queens, coppers, and horses, enchant and frighten the children of Pamplona. The costumes, weighing on average 62 kilos and 4 meters tall, are the work of local artist Felix Flores, commissioned in 1890.
The highlight of the week of course is the spectacle that is the Running of the Bulls. Participants outrun a small group of cattle along a historic route used to transport bulls from grazing land to the bull ring in town.
In honour of the Running of the Bulls, we present the Bull's Milk Bevy made with rum, cognac, milk, and maple syrup. Yum!
The Nickle Boys is the follow-up to Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Underground Railroad. This book is based on the real story of the Dozier School, a reform school that operated in Florida for 111 years. The school was shut down amidst terrible allegations of cruelty, rape, and murder. 55 graves were found on the site, while the excavation of its history.
The Nickel Boys bagged Whitehead his second Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 2020.
Richard Ayoade is a British actor and comedian. He also hosts the best travel show, Travel Man, and is also a travel-ish writer. Ayoade On Top is his expose' of the Gwyneth Paltrow film View From the Top. It is a laugh a minute and almost made me enjoy an absolutely un-watchable film!
I know that American Dirt by Jeanne Cummins is on everyone's must read list, but there is a reason why! This is one of the best books about immigration I have ever read. It makes you think and it leaves a scar.
One of the most gifted and celebrated authors of modern times gave us this beautiful parting gift before passing in Aug.2019.