The Onion Jack Festival returns to West Bay

A celebration of the Roscoff pink onion and the “Onion Johnnies” – the travelling door to door onion sellers, who for generations brought a taste of France to UK households – is coming back to Bridport with the Onion Jack Tour 2017.

The Onion Jack Festival will be held at West Bay, Bridport and other various venues from Friday, October 20th to Sunday, October 22nd.

The festival will mark the traditional ways of harvesting the onions by hand, carrying them by horse to the port and making the voyage to England as it was done in days gone by.

Like in October 2015, the festivities will begin in Roscoff, Brittany, where the famous pink onions are grown. This Sunday, October the 8th, Bridport town mayor Anne Rickard will join Joseph Seité, Mayor of Roscoff, to officially open the festivities, starting with the traditional procession to bring the onions and other local produce from the farm to the French port on bicycles and horse-drawn carts. At the port, the onions will be loaded into wooden sailing boats in which they will sail over to the UK, landing in West Bay ready for the start of the festivities on Friday October the 20th.

A Breton market, live French music, circus acts, food tasting events and the chance to try delicious crepes will be taking place during the three day event. The Onion Jack festivities also provide a programme full of entertainment and performances from French artists that will follow the tour. The festival offers a great family event and a real chance to get a taste of traditional Breton Fare. On Sunday, October 22nd, a procession of cycling Johnnies and Breton horse pulling loaded carts is also set to parade in West Bay.

The Onion Johnnies first arrived almost 200 years ago after Breton traders first realised the benefits of exporting their produce across the Channel. The sight of a beret-wearing Frenchman wearing a striped jumper and weighed down by strings of onions as he cycled from house to house was a common sight in the UK, until the trade almost died out in the 1970s.

The Onion Jack Association is a non-profit organisation with all members being volunteers: onion growers, artists, seafarers… whose aim is to promote this unique Breton profession on both sides of the Channel.

To find out more, please visit https://theonionjack.wixsite.com/festival or search the Onion Jack Tour Event on Facebook.