Friday, 5 August 2016

Fun and games at an Exmoor village fête

Scarecrows guarding the signpost (photo by Debi Jones)
Every village on Exmoor does something to celebrate summer, the season of fairs and festivals. On the first Saturday in August – this weekend, in fact - is the Wheddon Cross and Cutcombe fête and dog show, which takes place on the village playing fields just a short walk from Exmoor House.
A 'Mrs Mopp' scarecrow takes a break (photo by Debi Jones)
In the good old English tradition, a fête wouldn't be a fête without at least some of the following: china smashing, splat the rat, barbeque, tombola, Pimm's tent, fortune-telling and stalls selling books, plants and bric à brac. Most, if not all, of these are generally here, often with a few extra surprises too. Buy a ticket for the grand draw and you could win any of a wonderful array of prizes – one of which is dinner for two at Exmoor House.

We really enjoy looking at all the competition entries: there is always some fab baking (Frank won the best-in-show cup one year; the judges loved his goat's cheese flan), as well as great photos, very inventive crafts and of course luscious home-grown produce. Sometimes the competitions include a prize for the best scarecrow. No scarecrows this year, but I couldn't resist including a couple of pictures of some from a year or so ago.

Afternoon teas (not to be missed) are served at the village hall. After prizes have been presented, the fruit, vegetables, cakes – and so on – from the competitions are auctioned to raise money for village good causes. The auctioneer from the sheep and cattle market down the road does the honours and the pace is fast and furious. Snooze and you lose, as they say. Bidding is often fiercest, and prices highest, when it's time for the whortleberries to be sold (you may know these by one of their other names: bilberries, whinberries, blaeberries...).

If you're in the area, do come along and join in. You'll be made very welcome.

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