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Jings, crivens and help ma Boab... the annual Dundee Flower and Food Festival starts today and the three-day event kicks off, appropriately, with the finals of the Desperate Danwich competition. Aimed at primary pupils in Dundee and surrounding areas, this competition to create a sandwich that would find favour with cartoon character Desperate Dan, attracts hundreds of entries every year, with the semi-final taking place before the summer holidays. The challenge, promoted by NHS Tayside, is for school kids to create a sandwich that is both tasty and healthy.

Later today, secondary schools will find out who has won the festival's annual Cook Off competition for S3 pupils which, like the Desperate Danwich event, is judged by a panel of culi- nary experts.

Earlier in the year, 24 school teams gathered at Dundee College for the semi finals, to produce a two-course meal, and the junior cooks were whittled down to four teams of finalists. At last year's Cook Off, the meals produced by aspiring chefs included rack of lamb and ginger ice cream.

The festival, which originated as a horticultural event 100 years ago, takes place at Camperdown Park, outside the city centre, where a tented village draws in more than 20,000 visitors. As well as competitions and exhibitions, an extensive programme of events features talks, demonstrations and workshops by experts on food, drink, flowers and vegetables.

Family entertainment is a big part of the festival which includes The Circus Alchemy Magic Show, described as a "feast of visual stunts, magic, participation and spectacular vaudeville tricks". Festival goers are also advised to be on the look-out for Bread and Butter Theatre's "Greenfinger Folk" two huge topiary bushes in giant terracotta pots who will be on walkabout in the showground.

* www.dundeeflowerandfood

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