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Minchinhampton Fayre is Resurrected – Allelujah!

As many of you know it was one of the main aims of Minchinhampton Life to get the Fayre up and running again – it was last held in 2015.   Last Saturday – 14th September – it all came together after a lot of hard work by the Committee and many others in the community.  Peta Bunbury has lived in Minch for many years and remembers the pageants in particular from her childhood.  We hope that many of the children who took part in the pageant on Saturday will do the same and maybe still be in the area in twenty or so years’ time and will bring their memories of 2019 to future fayres….

It was the 750th anniversary of the Charter being granted to Minchinhampton – fayre means “market”.  There was so much going on in our little town.  Holy Trinity Minchinhampton had a Wedding Dress and flower festival over three days and attracted crowds to their breathtaking displays.  It was the 37th Anniversary of the Gardening Club show and, again, people thronged to that.  We were blessed with glorious weather which helped of course but the town was full of people of all ages looking extremely happy and enjoying all the entertainment and food on offer.

Tony Evans, the Town Crier, led the Pageant followed by the Vintage cars and the Gruffalo (how hot that costume must have been) and then the Pageant Players and many children from Minchinhampton Academy and Beaudesert School protesting about the use of plastic.  Once they arrived in the Market Square they performed a play with great enthusiasm. The High Street and School Road were full of stalls selling a wide variety of goods and also promoting charities and clubs. The Crown had a Pop up Pub before their opening at the end of the first week in November and the Market Square had bands such as The Hot Potato Syncopators and the Jazz Friday Big Band and Choirs performing on the stage all the day.  Madhu Rasoi also did a cookery demonstration and had delicious food to sell. On the school field Teckel’s Dog Show was a huge attraction along with the Fun Fair, Punch and Judy, Circus skills’ workshop, Walking with Hawks and food outlets of every description.  Joe May of Passion 4 Laughter brought in a big crowd and he also walked around the town with his son, Jack, on stilts with bubbles.  A lot of dancing shows performed on the School arena – Morris dancers, Country dancing and the Be Fit Zumba dancers.  The beer tent was active from start to finish thanks to Vincenzo Zinni and his team –  and Avening Band entertained everyone and the glider and glider simulator got a lot of attention as did the four donkeys on the Park.

Minchinhampton Life are extremely grateful to our sponsors and to all the many people who supported the event from Richard Leech who put up the bunting, drove the Yateman’s lorry (thanks to them for supplying it) and collected and delivered all the stalls, tables and benches from the Cricket club and the Scout hut.  He was ably assisted by three willing volunteers Tom Palterman, his friend, Steve, and Dave Robb.  Many people helped us put up the tent for Avening Band on the field and the Beer tent and particular mention should go to Jon Turner, Susie Beattie and Lyndsey Fair.  Cherry Land helped us enormously with the Facebook page encouraging volunteers and people to lend gazebos.  We are really grateful for all this help.

We have learnt a lot of lessons about improvements that could be made in the future. We are still counting the pennies but will announce this when we know.  In the past the Fayre raised moneys for local charities and distributed the total sum amongst them all.  This time we will retain approximately £3,000 so we don’t have to go cap in hand to sponsors before the next Fayre.   People have expressed concern that it takes that amount of money to set up the Fayre but insurance alone is over £700 and entertainment has to be paid up front as do First Aiders, Nailsworth market stalls and so forth.  The Hot Potato Syncopators were a wonderful donation from a very kind resident of Minchinhampton – they would have cost £1,000.  Huge thanks to that person.   This year the various charities raised the money for themselves and retained it but we will have made a profit from the raffle, beer tent, bucket collections etc and will distribute these funds to the charities.

So thank you to everyone for coming and for all your encouragement and help on the day and in the lead up to it.

A special thank you to the Fayre Committee – Lou Buckley, Peta Bunbury, Karen Colebourn, Adrian Herbert, Gwenneth Vardy, Jo Fincher, Jo Sheppard, Sheryl Hobbs-Canning ,Leigh Elliott and Nigel Parry.  We worked well together as a team but were hugely indebted to Lou who pulled everything together. Simon Witney and Katie Jarvis helped  with publicity and our commentators on the day – Nick Moss, Simon, Patrick Graham and Terry Robinson were superb.   An enormous thank you too to Alan Vaughan who not only worked very hard on the Pageant with all his team but advised us in our dealings with Chinnicks and the sound system and was there when leads couldn’t be found and saved the day!    Car parking had been a potential problem but thanks to the co-operation of Richard Evans of the National Trust, the Commons’ Committee – Edwin Draper and Steve Kilmister in particular – it was resolved  and thank you to all the parking volunteers mostly from the Probus Clubs.

The Cotswold Club was very active all day and had a great musical event in the evening as did the Market House with live music from Richard Dinning.  I am told both events were great fun – I wouldn’t know – I was asleep by 9pm!

Minchinhampton Fayre will hopefully grow from strength to strength and the next Fayre will be in 2021 – thank you to everyone!    We will put more photos on the site when we have them.


Anne Parry