Sunday, 29 July 2012

Stalls, plants and Belly Dancing

Jubilee celebrations in our village were a great success. Held on Bank Holiday following the 2 rainy days which hampered the Thames Pageant, and based on the local playing field we had a variety of parades, activities and stalls. The expected attendance was around 500. On the day, over 3000 "stir crazy" villagers turned up, just happy to be out of the house and looking a a good time on a tight austerity budget. The whole age-range came along.

Three permanent queues formed from the opening around 1 o'clock - at the bar; at the hot dog/burger stall and at the ice-cream van. Only the bar had the facility to re-stock sufficiently to keep going for the evening entertainment of local bands and fireworks. The Mother's Union 200 bottle stall sold out in 2 hours. The Tombola Stall with over 100 prizes managed to last 3 hours. Teas and cakes raised over £1000 for a local Hospice.

And there was definitely a happy "buzz " around.

When Morris Dancers invited audience participation a few onlookers actually joined in. "Belly Dancing" attracted a lot more when the chance came  to wobble with professionals .""Zumba".. well..there almost wasn't room on the display area for all the writhing hands/arms/legs/bodies/heads that made up the enhanced performance. Such was the community "feel-good" factor and  infectious sense of belonging that time passed quickly.

Lots of organisations raise funds through similar events. Primary school staffs backed by well motivated parents swell school funds with an annual event which we were lucky enough to attend this year. The bottle stall "raffle" sold out; the burger/hot dog stall had a permanent queue and the bar was in continuous activity. An "up-market" hog roast (or was it hog-leg roast) seemed to be making a profit. A bouncy castle on free loan for the event raised a tidy sum, as did face painting (though at a slower pace).

But what caught my eye was a plant stall stacked with box after polystyrene box of bedding plants at £1 a box or 3 for £2.50. This was another generous donation from a parent with links to a nursery. I started with 3 boxes - followed by another 3 for daughter-in-law - fully expecting a sell-out within an hour. By tea-time stalls were beginning to pack up but amazingly, not the plant stall staffed by the tired but nevertheless still enthusiastic parent I had bought from earlier. She was clearly desperate to close down - which is how I ended up with 19 boxes, containing around 200 plants and a transport problem.

That infectious feel-good factor again..

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