Blackberry Fair 2018
The subtle tones of an acoustic guitar serenade volunteers setting up tables in the hall – getting ready for workshops for youngsters – crafting items for the Carnival of Plenty – little ones create leaves for the Tree of Life – and older ones decorate poles with different bits and pieces that glow, and shine and rattle.
Volunteers appear for a welcome hot drink after putting up gazebos and distributing sofas to strategic points about the town, musicians have finished setting up speakers and microphones – the stage is set for Blackberry Fair to begin once again.
The music changes and we’re clapping hands in time to a drumbeat, accompanied by a guitar – and voices join in singing well known songs. Next come the Urban Gypsies, dancing, swinging, gyrating to gypsy music – looking around, everyone is foot-tapping, clapping, swaying in time to the music – mesmerised – no-one can keep still.
Then comes the Whitchurch Brass Band, trumpets and cornets – and all conversation ceases as tubas and trombones send oompahs and oom-pah-pahs reverberating around the walls. Lunchtime, there’s such a lot to choose from – wild boar burgers, freshly made pizzas, ice creams, and deliciously decorated cupcakes, with real beers and ciders to wash it all down with.
Blackberry Fair has an atmosphere all its own, the spirit of poetry, singers, dancers, actors, fine foods, real beers, street theatre, costumes and characters, Urban Gypsies and Morris Dancers, skateboarding and stilt walking, jugglers and firebreathers – all join Harminder the Elephant in the Carnival of Plenty procession at the end of the afternoon.
Entertainment continues into the night with live steel band music and fireworks – and another Blackberry Fair comes to an end with lots of happy memories for families to take home. “Our children made puppets, crushed apples, watched films, literally the whole of Whitchurch was alive, down every street and avenue – it’s the best fair we’ve ever been to.”
Published in the November edition of the Whitchurch Gossip