Rainy but pleasant Fair
An Impression Of Weldam Castle Fair by Victoria de Regt
Well, now I have celebrated my 10th anniversary as a volunteer, it might be a good time to look backwards as well as forwards. To look backwards first: I've known Joyce for so many years, it's hardly credible. We met in Amsterdam over 50 years (!) ago and have always remained friends. Since Joyce moved to Deventer at the end of the last century, after she became a member of St. Mary's congregation, she started helping to organise the Annual Fair. Joyce asked me to join in as a volunteer. And so I did.
I usually arrive in Deventer on the Thursday before. Early Friday morning we leave for Weldam, with a car full of jams, textiles, banners and what not. Work starts in earnest once the stalls are delivered and set up. Over the years, we've developed a sublime technique for fastening the tacks on the skirts around the stalls. Leader of the team is undoubtedly Peter Ribbens. He knows how to speed us up and refine the procedure. But we are not the only people breaking records. Diane is working away at the flowers and the tearoom group led by multitasking Jeanet, is setting up the kitchen. Lub, her husband is checking on electricity, water, and the loos etc. Cor, Louw, Pauline, Dinah Ann and others are general dogs' bodies. Forgive me if I have forgotten someone. After having been part of the team for so many years I know almost all names and it is like meeting old friends. At lunchtime, we all sit down for Jeanet's traditional unsurpassed chicken soup. All tasks are done in a most companiable way, even if it starts raining, as it did this year.
On our arrival on Saturday morning, all the skirts on the stalls were wet and muddy. However, we opened at eleven o'clock, with a beautiful show by Heleen Rauwerda in the rain. She looked regal in her pink outfit with umbrella and an appropriate stylish usage of language. She was certainly effective in stopping people who had been planning a precocious entrance. The people therefore entered the grounds of Weldam in a most disciplined way. The atmosphere, as always, was friendly. People were pleased with the goods they purchased or ate on the premises.
And let's not forget our incomparable Chairman Hans! With his newly acquired megaphone and cigar he was omnipresent and his usual cheerful self, being everywhere where needed! We always wonder how he manages. In the kitchen there was the usual buzzing activity of washer-uppers and Simone of course, looking after her coffee and tea urns. Having been a helper at the Fair for such a long time, I recognise some of the stallholders and others have become real friends. I do appreciate the efforts of the Committee though in trying to find new people every year with exciting crafts and products to sell. For example, this year there were some lovely new stalls. One, selling wool, was called 'de Wolkelder', another was a tapestry restorer Babai, an acquaintance of Count Alfred's and there was a lady Riek Bruggink, with lovely hand-woven shawls.
The quality of baking of the cakes and scones in the tearoom was of unsurpassed excellence. As the weather was not very good, we had little showers every now and then, people tended to linger longer in the tearoom, with the result that sales almost equalled last years. If the weather had been fine, and the number of visitors had been higher, we certainly would have run out of cakes before the end of the day. With fine weather, the shortage of serving staff, which occurred during the afternoon, could have become a problem. The church stall and jams did also very well. And of course, the music enhanced the whole day. The pipers are essential, so are the Morris dancers and the trio playing in the tearoom. And of course, as always, it was thanks to Count Alfred and Countess Christine's hospitality that we were able to have this Fair again this year! I hope to be able to be a volunteer next year, and I want to say to all St. Mary members, thanks for your fellowship and friendship!
2015 - Castle Fair