Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cheese Chasers Carrying On the Proud Tradition

Some traditions, like cheese chasing for instance, cannot be thwarted no matter what.

Such was the case of the Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling event in England on May 31. For a century now, "Englishmen have been chasing a round of Double Gloucester down a steep hill in the Cotswolds" as Peter Moore writes in online publication, A Tangled Web.

What has become an extraordinarily popular event had to be cancelled this year, despite public sentiment, due to organizers' inability to manage traffic and crowds.

Nonetheless Chris Anderson, six time winning cheese rolling champion, made it out with 300 spectators in an unofficial cheese rolling contest. Five races were organized and Chris Anderson came away with the cheese once again in both the first and the last race, being the first to capture the 8 pound round of local cheddar.

For 22 years local cheesemaker and artisan, Diana Smart, has been lending her craft to what has become an important cheese tradition. She's now 82 years old, and has found a bit of celebrity status, making a cameo appearance in a music video by Maccabees because of the important role she plays in this cheese rolling fest. (See "Can You Give It" on YouTube.)

Apparently, the ties that bind cheese rolling fanatics cannot be severed easily. Thankfully for them, Cheese Rolling Committee has pledged to carry on the show next May.

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