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The decades-old tradition comes to an end due to lack of interest

Rebecca Firkser
January 25, 2018

The village of Stilton in England's Cambridgeshire county has cancelled its annual cheese-rolling festival, according to a Facebook post. The Stilton Community Association posted several reasons for the cancellation, among them lack of interest in both participation and organization of the event, as well as safety concerns.

“In 2017 there were only 2 teams registered,” the Stilton Community Association wrote in their Facebook post. “The young people are marginally more keen to join in, but it is no longer seen as ‘cool’.” They also mentioned that it was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain their standard of safety during the event, and with no one to take over organization following the previous organizers’ retirement, the group felt it was best to cancel this years event. However, as the Facebook post is now filled with messages from disappointed townfolk, there is a chance enough people will volunteer to run next year’s event.

A cheese-rolling race is pretty much exactly what you’d expect—competitors are expected to roll thick wheels of cheese (or, sometimes, cheese-shaped wooden blocks) along a racetrack, and whoever makes it to the finish line first is crowned the winner. Simple, but elegant.

The cancellation is a blow for Stilton, which even has a cheese-rolling tab on their town’s official website. According to the website, by the mid-20th century the businesses of Stilton were dealing with a major decline, so one pub landlord began cheese-rolling to draw people’s attention. Eventually, people began to join in.

If you’re around Cambridgeshire and still want to participate in a cheese-rolling festival, Gloucestershire (another county in South West England) is still planning to host their annual event. Slightly more dangerous than Stilton’s roll, which happens on a flat city street, the Gloucestershire event involves rolling cheeses down a steep hill along with dozens of other individuals. But if that doesn’t deter you, according to their website, the cheese-rolling at Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire is being planned for May 2018.

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