THOUSANDS of people are set to flock to Newent to celebrate all things onion next month.

It is expected that 12,000 to 15,000 visitors will join in with this year's Onion Fayre, which takes place annually in the Gloucestershire market town.

This year's free event will be held on Saturday, September 13 from 10am and features live music, street entertainers, animal displays, fairground rides, exhibitions and an onion eating competition.

There will also be more than 100 stalls selling local food and drink, arts and crafts and plants.

Fayre vice chairman, Andy Offord, said the festival is about much more than onions.

"There is so much going on, there really will be something for everyone," he said.

"You can literally eat and drink your way through the town, listen to some great music, enjoy some fun and games, see the dog show, and just enjoy a day out that welcomes all the family.

"We have a food festival taking place as well which will involve some cooking demonstrations, with all the recipes involving onions. The local church has a fantastic exhibition on some of the archaeological finds that have been discovered in the area over the years, which will be interesting.

"Year after year the fayre gets better and better, and the atmosphere is always super."

The fayre has been running in its current form for 19 years, but the actual Onion Fayre dates back hundreds of years.

Mr Offord said: "The fayre is very unique and has been going since the 13th century. Henry III gave Newent a royal charter for a market and two annual fayres, and one of the annual fayres became the Onion Fayre.

"Next year's event will be absolutely superb as it will be our 20th fayre. It will be even bigger and better than ever and we're already planning for it now. The whole fayre is organised by a team of volunteers who work so hard. We don't set out to make a profit, we just do it for the love of the fayre."

This year's fayre is sponsored by the 3 Shires Garden Centre and GSM Ltd.