A highlight of the Alresford Watercress Festival on May 19 will be the World Watercress Eating Championships, where competitors race to eat 80 grams of the green stuff in the fastest time. 

It’s a lot of fun, but this year it’s about to get serious, with a genuine opportunity to become a Guinness World Record holder.

The festival committee has applied to record this year’s competition as a world record attempt. The current official holder is Fayisnazer Fayis from India, who took the record with a time of 37.68 seconds on May 10 last year in Abu Dhabi.

Alresford’s Glenn Walsh is the festival’s long-standing World Watercress Eating Champion. Last year he smashed the Guinness World Record with a time of 31.29 seconds, but as it wasn’t an official record attempt his watercress eating prowess has gone uncelebrated. 

Festival entertainments manager Simon Evans said: “Glenn has been amazing us for many years with his watercress-eating abilities and we decided that this year we had to formalise his achievement by applying for an official Guinness World Record attempt. 

“We’re wishing Glenn lots of luck, but of course there may be someone else out there who can beat him - and this is definitely the year to try to claim the record.”

Anyone can take part - simply sign up from 2.30pm on the main stage.

If gorging on watercress isn’t your idea of fun, the festival has plenty more to offer. New for 2024 will be local artists, including Julie Hepenstal, Charlie Jewett and Catherine Ruth Church, capturing the general vibe of the event and offering to paint portraits of festival goers, their children and pets, or whatever they choose.

The Makers Market, with more than 25 arts and crafts stalls showcasing some of Britain’s finest artisans and their wares, will be in the Alresford station forecourt. Another 100 or so food and craft stalls will line Broad Street and West Street.

Raffle prizes range from £400 to a Yeti Roadie Cool Box donated by the SoCal BBQ Shop, a cookery class from the Lainston House Hotel, a gin selection hamper, a tour of a wasabi farm by The Wasabi Company, a bottle of Wasabi Vodka and other wasabi-based goodies. Tickets are on sale on the day.

The team at Season Cookery School in the Lainston House Hotel will run the barbecue workshops they introduced last year. Learn from the best how to prepare and cook the perfect steak with a chimichurri, chipotle mayo on a watercress flatbread. The non-refundable fee of £15 will be donated in full to festival charity Abby's Heroes. Book at www.watercressfestival.org 

With cookery demos, live music, kids’ entertainment and hundreds of food stalls to enjoy, it really is a great free day out for the whole family.

For more information, and to keep up to date with new attractions being added to the festival, visit www.watercressfestival.org