A 'perfect storm' of problems has put the future of a cherished village fayre in jeopardy. A dearth of volunteers, arid conditions last year and a clash of dates with Cheadle Carnival combined to put the 2019 St Margaret's Summer Fayre in doubt. Organisers are hosting a meeting next week in a bid to drum up support for the event this summer.
The annual fayre at Draycott-in-the-Moors has attracted hordes of visitors as it has grown over almost 30 years.
But now more volunteers are needed to set up the event, run attractions on the day and help dismantle equipment and clear the field afterwards.
John Clarke is the driving force behind St Margaret’s Summer Fayre and is urging anyone who may be able to help to attend a meeting next week.
John said: “Last year was a perfect storm. We appeared to have perfect weather for the fayre, but what we actually got were really arid conditions which people found really oppressive.
“Although we had a lot of people through the gates, they couldn’t stay for very long, so the support wasn’t there for the attractions we’d got.
“Added to that was the fact that Cheadle Carnival was on the same weekend as our fayre.
“The fayre helps to pay for the parish share which the church must pay to Lichfield Diocese. St Margaret’s parish share is £15,500 and it’s not very easy to find.
“In 2017 we made just over £8,000 at the fayre which went towards the parish share.
“Last year, we made only £3,000, but the event still required the same level of preparation and hard work, so it was pretty devastating – it disappointed quite a few people.”
An important part of village life, the fayre has become a highlight of the summer calendar across north Staffordshire since it was launched in 1990.
Often featuring grand arena displays – last year’s being Historia Normannis’ impressive Norman re-enactments – the fayre regularly includes a rally of more than 100 vehicles, a dog show, children’s funfair, community sports events, stalls and attractions and a beer festival and hog roast.
The night before the event, the organisers host a night of live music on the field.
John added: “We’ve been putting leaflets through people’s doors asking for them to come along and support the fayre.
“The people who initially started the fayre are getting older and while they want to see it continue, they can’t always help as much themselves.
“I’ve already booked attractions and entertainments for this year’s events, but we need people to help prepare the field, run stalls and attractions on the day and take it all down again afterwards.”
The fayre takes place each year on a field owned by Paul Ford of Highfields Farm, who also provides a diesel generator and water supply for the event.
Anyone who feels they can help with this year’s event can attend a meeting at St Margaret’s Church, Draycott-in-the-Moors on Wednesday, February 13 at 7.30pm.
Alternatively contact churchwardens Jane Mellor: 07182 396373 and Tony Fletcher: 01782 396304 or Rector, the Rev Jonathan Roberts: 01782 437600.
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