2019 Castle Fair

2019 - Castle Fair

This years Castle Fair was again blessed with marvellous weather, a lot of visitors and losts of happy faces, nice music, dancers and a large number of stalls. Fencing demonstrations and bow and arrow shooting were also visited by large crowds.

We would like to thank our visitors, all our volunteers and the Solms family for making this years Castle Fair a success.

A Wardens Viewpoint

The weather over the days leading up to the Castle Fair did not bode well with windy, drizzly, grey days. Come the day the sun reappeared, the wind dropped to a light breeze, and the people poured through the gate in a steady stream throughout the day.

The Raffle Stall was placed this year at the top of the drive, between the ice cream stall and the English Fudge. Great spot for attracting visitors but not so great for the waistline. The two ladies on the stall, Marilyn and Lillian, had far more self-control than your warden and the author of this viewpoint.
The three of us had the privilege of acting like Father Christmas, (or in the ladies’ case, Mary Christmas) throughout the day as we handed out prizes to lucky ticket holders. The only prize that proved difficult to give away was a voucher for a tree. It kept getting won by flat dwellers whose only outdoor space was a balcony. Happily, a gardener eventually won it and went away with a smile on her face.

Smiles on faces were the order of the day for our visitors. From the moment they arrived at the ticket stall most appeared amazed at the incredible array of stalls set in the grounds of the stunning Weldam Castle grounds. Those visitors who arrived at the beginning of the fair were met by the Highland pipe and drum band who marched up the drive playing a selection of music. Somehow, the skirl of the pipes and the rhythmic drumbeat of Highland Laddie, Scotland the Brae and Black Bear amongst others seemed to fit the scene.

The volunteers in the tearoom deserve a special mention as they dispensed tea, coffee and a huge variety of home-baked cakes throughout the day. Behind the scenes, out of sight of the crowd, volunteers toiled away washing an endless stream of crockery and glassware. At times, there more visitors than there were chairs and tables available. Mention must also be made at this point of the Lub Gringhuis Patent Fly and Wasp Blower that kept the cakes both cool and insect free throughout the day. If you are curious, ask about this device when you are next in the Hut.

The Church Stall was placed in its usual position just inside the courtyard. by the gate. All day long Theda and Els informed interested visitors about the activities of St Mary’s Chapel, and the charities the chaplaincy supported. They also sold a variety of goods, many hand-crafted by Theda.
That afternoon, the Dog Show took place on the front lawn. Around twenty dogs and their minders participated in over an hour of riotous fun. Identifying some dogs was easy, such as the Pembroke Corgi, a Shi Tzu, and a Labrador. For the rest, though it was more fun to speculate on what they were a mix of.

The international judging panel consisted of Arthur, representing the United Kingdom, Sebastian, representing the Netherlands and yours truly, representing the Republic of Ireland, scrutinised the entrants with professional skill. Bilingual commentary and instructions were blasted out via a Bull Horn by Joyce Wigboldus. (Using the Americanism for an electronic megaphone seems more appropriate.)

Dogs valiantly competed to gain the judges' attention in classes such as Cutest Dog, Waggiest Tail and Most Appealing Eyes. Judges equally bravely tried to not get bitten, by the human minders, in classes such as Dog thatlooks most like their owner and Dog the Judges would most like to take Home. The highlight was during the Best Trick event, when the dog had to fetch a squeaky plastic hamburger and return it to the thrower. Rusty, a multi-breed rescue dog raced past the hamburger and kept on going through the crowds, followed in hot pursuit by Katelyn, his rescuer, calling for him to come back.

At the end of the event, every dog had won at least one prize. Admittedly, it took a lot of judging skill, but no dog went home empty-pawed. The crowds who had gathered to watch a typical British church fete style dog show appeared to enjoy the spectacle.

At the end of the day, Jeanet and the other hard-working members of the Castle Fair Committee led the weary volunteers into winding up and clearing up after the last visitor had left. After all, the gardens of Weldam Castle had to be returned in the same condition. Seven Hundred and Seventy-Seven tickets were sold and over six thousand years were raised for the chaplaincy funds. As an exercise in fundraising, the Castle Fair was a great success. But as a great fun day out, lets-get-to-know-other event for those of us who worship at St Mary’s Chapel, the Castle Fair was enormously successful. Many thanks to all who took part, and to the Solms family, for the use of the Weldam Castle grounds.

©Blair Charles

Below is a selection of images, more to follow.