The Midsummer Fayre cometh…

This weekend the bunting’s out for the Jubilee – but just one week later, Wellington will be out in force again for the most colourful day in our calendar. Come and join us!

It’s a week to go until the Midsummer Fayre in Wellington – the annual event where we celebrate the crafts and creativity on Wellington’s doorstep, inspired by ancient June fairs first recorded in the market charter of 1244. You can download a programme here: FINAL FAYRE LEAFLET

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It’s got all the usual ingredients – music, costumes, stalls and games, along with some special guest appearances from a host of kings and queens past in a nod to this month’s Diamond Jubilee. So, if you want to see Henry VIII entertained by a court jester, Queen Victoria being not amused, and Elizabeth I conducting a male voice choir, this is the place to be.

The church lawns will be packed with around forty local food and craft stalls featuring everything from a Shropshire hog roast and homemade fudge to hand-woven baskets, soaps and jewellery. Inside the parish church, tea, cakes and other refreshments will be available, there will be a puppet show at 11.45, and visitors can enjoy displays about the history and life of All Saints, as well as have a go at bell-ringing in the ‘mobile belfry’.

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Entertainment will take place throughout the day between 10am and 3pm. The Wrekin Recorder Consort and Hadley Orpheus Choir will kick things off inside the parish church, with that grand musical entrance of Good Queen Bess at around 10.45 – that really will be something worth seeing. Outside in the churchyard, Wellington Brass Band will be playing from about 10am, handing the baton on to Odd Socks Folk Band at midday. A new addition to the fayre this year, the Bridgnorth Ukulele Band will provide our musical finale after lunch.

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Don’t limit yourself to the confines of the churchyard though – there’s more to see down in Market Square. The Shrewsbury Morris Dancers will be rattling the cobbles at various intervals from 11am until 1.30, punctuated by an appearance by Jack the Jester and friends at midday when they perform their highly popular fire show.

Morris dancers in the Square

Some people are tempted to sneak off home for lunch, but there should be plenty to eat at the fayre or around town. In any case, you won’t want to miss the costumed procession at 1pm, which re-enacts a parade first recorded in the town in 1773 and features many of the same characters along with townspeople of the period. The procession will lead from the churchyard down Church Street, through Market Squareand the Market Hall, before returning to the church via Market Street.

Fayre procession

The Fayre is organised by local volunteers of Wellington H2A and members of All Saints Church, and sponsored by Wellington Town Council and Wellington Market Company. Each year we attract a few more people and a few more stalls, but we can’t really get any bigger – which is probably a good thing.

A sizzling finale…

The fayre might wrap up at 3pm, but don’t be fooled into thinking the fun ends there. At 7.30pm, you’ll find us at Wrockwardine Village Hall for H2A’s Sausage & Ale Ceilidh. Tickets are available at Ken Francis Butchers (the de facto Wellington H2A headquarters) and cost £10 each (food included) or £5 for those aged 16 or under. If you buy 4 full price tickets, you even get a fifth free!

barn dance

For any who don’t know, a ceilidh (pronounced ‘kay-lee’) is another name for a barn dance or country dancing. If you’ve never been to one of these dances, it might sound a bit dull, or daunting, or both, but be assured it’s neither of these things.

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Music will come courtesy of Odd Socks (who you’ll have seen earlier in the day at the Fayre) with their lovely caller Anne (who you’ll have also seen, Morris dancing) guiding us through the moves. Anyone can do it, and it’s a lot fun. There’s a licensed bar, selling the usual largers, wines and soft drinks, but with the starring role going to Ken Finney’s specially brewed real ale ‘Wrekin Reveller’ – a fantastic pint of summery beer (see the ‘Makers and Doers’ page, where I interviewed Ken about his brewing). At about 9pm, we break for the barbecue, supplied by Ken Francis Butchers, then go back in for another round of dancing which lasts until about a quarter to midnight.

And that’s just about it. At midnight, you can go home and relax. Until 11am the next morning, of course, when it’s the Great Wrekin Barrel Race!