Playing cards have played an important role in people’s lives for centuries. The Playing Card Festival has been held annually since 1682 to celebrate all the non-gambling uses that playing cards can be used for.
It all began when the wife of local gambler Ralph Meadows decided that she would remove all gambling temptation from his life. She picked up his pack of cards and threw them individually out of the window. Ralph noticed that some of the cards travelled more than 100 yards and bragged one day in the pub that his wife could throw cards further than anyone else. The challenge was inevitably taken up by his drinking friends and the contest was established, taking place on St George’s Day in a farmer’s field.
Fifty contestants each took a playing card from the Presiding Judge’s pack. The order of throwing was decided by the number of the card (aces high) – in order of importance the suits were hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades. The first thrower was the two of hearts and the final thrower was the ace of spades. Ralph’s wife, Jenny, had the eight of diamonds and hurled it 112 yards seven inches.