Food, films, forums and festivals - what's coming up in 2019
PUBLISHED: 14:23 04 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:36 04 January 2019
There's a lot to get excited about in 2019, with a year jam-packed full of food, films and festivals as St Albans becomes the go-to place for some major events, and gets to grips with its own Roman history.
That history is displayed for all to see in the new St Albans Museum + Gallery, but it also shows exhibitions that would be at home in the museums and art galleries of London.
From March 23 to September 8, the free Barbara Hepworth: artist in society 1948-53 exhibition, curated by UHArts, explores a short period in the life of one of Britain’s most celebrated artists, and introduces sculptures, drawings and archival material, reuniting works that have not been seen together since they were first created.
The Cathedral’s annual Alban Festival will have a Roman theme this year and will run from June 21-30, telling the story of Alban, Britain’s First Saint, and the times in which he lived.
So Roman soldiers and chariots could well make an appearance at this year’s programme of events - which will be longer than ever, and will mark the opening of the Cathedral’s new Heritage Lottery funded Welcome Centre and exhibition spaces.
The Pilgrimage takes place on June 22 with additional festivities on the Abbey Orchard in the afternoon, and the Street Festival, run by St Albans district council on June 23.
The popular St Albans Film Festival also returns in 2019, for its sixth year, featuring an open-air cinema in the stunning location of the Abbey Orchard for the third year running, from June 25-July 7 along with a number of other events.
The theme will be Classics, in a nod to the Roman Festival, so expect to be sitting back under the sun, and, later, the stars, with a glass of fizz, and watching some of the best movies ever made in the shadow of the ancient Cathedral.
The end of July sees gladiators of a more contemporary kind descend on St Albans, as the 16 strongest men in the country battle it out for the title of UK’s Strongest Man.
This national competition – which is shown on Channel 5 later in 2019 – takes place in the Abbey View Stadium in Verulamium Park from July 26-28.
More than 10,000 fans attended last year, and a further two million watched on TV as the strongmen pulled lorries, flipped cars and bended iron bars, and in the most exciting final in the event’s 15-year history, Pa O’Dwyer came from behind to win by just one point over England’s Phil Roberts.
Said to be the toughest strongman competition in the world, this is a fun family day out with a festival vibe, full of free children’s activities, live music, great food and of course feats of superhuman strength!
The UK’s Strongest Kid Challenge proved especially popular last year as children got the opportunity to flip tyres, try the farmers’ walk and lift sand bags. Tickets are already on sale - so grab yours quickly.
Autumn in St Albans is all about food – as not one, but two foodie festivals take place.
First up, in the middle of September, the Michelin award-winning chef Tom Kerridge will be bringing his successful Pub in the Park festival (which started in Marlow) to our very own Verulamium Park from September 13-15, as one of just eight carefully chosen locations across the UK.
He will be accompanied by some of his chef mates, and Michelin-starred and award-winning pubs and restaurants serving tasting dishes, as well as showcasing the local talent that we have to offer from a range of our pubs and restaurants.
This will be combined with chef demonstrations, top quality shopping, and some big names in the world of live music.
Then, as usual, at the end of September, the renowned St Albans Food and Drink festival will be back for its 12th year, celebrating our city’s enduring love affair with food and drink.