When you live in the countryside there’s some traditions that you just have to join in with. Not all villages have them and I’m sure there are regional differences but if you want to be part of the community there’s some great events and activities to take part in and enjoy. The first being the village fete. Or is it a fayre or a country show?
The Village Fete
When we were children fetes where the way to go. Any annual event running the village large or small was always called a fete. We lived in a large village and the fete was massive. It was held at the village Primary School on their field and each estate in the village took part in the float competition.
The float competition was basically a flatbed lorry with people on the estate dressed up on the back of the lorry according to a theme. Think Disney parades and 4th of July carnivals but on a lower budget. Estate always went to town and after winning it several years on the Run they decided to stop having the float competition as one to win and it was more about the taking part. It didn’t last long after that and I’m not surprised with all the work that our estate would put into it from much earlier in the year.
The fete would have all the usual entertainment, donkey rides, coconut shy, hook the duck, and various stalls and activities going on for all the children and adults. It was a great opportunity to catch up with school friends and get out and about, as well as seeing if your picture from the float was going to end up in the newspaper.
Our local village fete now is still a traditional village fete but on a smaller scale as the village is tiny. There’s the tombola, raffle, dance show from the local children, ice cream van and toy and book stall. But many other villages have changed their village fete up and then how much more of a festival atmosphere. As well as advertising much wider than just the village.
The village -fest
It seems everywhere is turning their events into festivals, usually adding a music stage or two and sometimes going into the evening or over a whole weekend. Our village has a lovely ‘fest of its own, but it’s a literary based one with author talks and lots of classical music and talks. A grown up (slightly aloof) type of festival. They sometimes do some children’s sessions too, but we’ve never made it along.
Other villages versions have been a lot of fun though – lots of stalls along the streets, fete type dancing and displays on the village green arenas, and music stages. Plus of course lots of food stalls and some have crafts activities as well. While they must take a lot of organising, they’ve got to be great for village community spirit and getting everyone out involved as well as inviting more visitors in.
Not forgetting of course, the tradition in some villages to have a Scarecrow Festival. I’d never come across one of these before until moving to the farm because none of my childhood village and surrounds did them. But round here there’s a couple, and it’s nice to spot the dressed up scarecrows that households have made, sitting along the roads as you walk or drive through.
We’re also partial to a country show. Sometimes they’re a bit rubbish (one we went to sounded great, but the best bit was N’s enjoyment of the playground which we could have gone to any time).
These tend to be much bigger affairs, often with an agricultural aspect to them. Either vintage tractors on display, horse shows, usually a dog show, and a multitude of traditional fete stalls and games, with added bouncy castles, go karting and other much larger activities.
One country show near us is always good fun, and still cheap to go to. There’s refreshments run by the WI, photography and produce shows, rides, stalls, dress up your wheelbarrow in the theme competitions, classic cars and vintage tractors, as well as lots of other stuff. And N is always happy because there’s the playground in the same playing field too. Country Show always sounds like a grand title for a village show, but if they have so much going on, why not?
What I love about country shows locally, is that you always bump into people you know. And that’s what country life is about really. Feeling part of the community and everyone pulling together to support local events.
Our situation is a bit strange because we live inbetween a couple of villages, so we’re never fully part of any one village community. With the school N goes to, we tend to head towards that village for events and fetes. And summer arriving is one of the times of year to start looking out for events in villages near you.
Just a shame summer’s now nearly over, and it’s onto autumn harvest events instead.
Do you enjoy village fetes and local country shows?