Dorset knob-throwing festival cancelled after becoming too popular

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Alicia Canter/Alicia Canter/ Observer</span>
Photograph: Alicia Canter/Alicia Canter/ Observer

A “knob-throwing” event has been cancelled because the size has become too much to handle for the organisers.

The Dorset knob-throwing contest involves competitors hurling a traditional Dorset knob – a hard biscuit – as far as they can. The record throw of 29.4 metres (96 ft) was set in 2012.

This is now the third year in a row the organisers have been forced to cancel; in 2020 there was no venue available and in 2021 Covid put an end to the festivities.

But this year organisers have admitted that the event, due to be held on 1 May in Cattistock alongside the Frome Valley food festival, has become too popular for the organisers to manage.

Other events on the day include knob-eating, knob-painting, a knob and spoon race, guess the weight of the big knob, knob darts and a knob pyramid.

A statement on Facebook from the Dorset knob-throwing committee said: “It is with great sadness that the Dorset Knob Throwing and Frome Valley food festival is unable to go ahead on 1 May 2022.

“We had over 8,000 people attend the 2019 event, meaning it has reached such a size that it simply cannot be run by a small village committee. We’ve looked at various options but sadly couldn’t make any of them work for this year for many reasons.

“We also sadly lost the support of our event management team late in 2021 and agreements with Moores Biscuits to provide the biscuits for the event’s games also took much longer than anticipated.

“We hope the event can return in years to come.”

The Dorset knob started life sometime before 1860 when the Moores family began baking in West Dorset, according to Moores biscuit-maker.

After the day’s bread baking was finished it was the custom to make Dorset knobs by adding butter and sugar to the leftover dough and hand rolling them in small buttons. They were then baked in the dying heat of the bread oven to dry them out like rusks.

The Dorset knob was originally named after hand-sewn Dorset Knob buttons that were still being made in the last revival of the once-thriving cottage industry.

Knob rules

According to the Dorset knob-throwing committee, the rules for the contest are as follows:

  • Three Dorset knobs per go, furthest knob thrown is measured;

  • Use only Dorset Knobs provided;

  • Standing throw from marked standing point;

  • Underarm throwing only;

  • One foot must remain on the ground during throwing;

  • Distance of the furthest knob only measured within the designated throwing zone, which is 5 metres wide x 32 metres long, marked in 2 metre zones, with use of measure in between marks to determine distance thrown;

  • Dorset knob measured at final resting place;

  • If Dorset knob breaks upon landing it will be the umpire’s decision of final resting place.

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