Ten days to go and ten things to do at the Midsummer Fayre

Just ten days to go until our annual Midsummer Fayre – I hope you’re coming. If you are – or if you still need some encouragement – here’s a check list of ten things to do on the day…

1. Meet the oldest town crier in England (and probably the world)

Wellington’s spritely town crier Percy is 91 this year, but doesn’t look a day over 75. Visit him at home and you’ll find him in the middle of painting, wood-carving, ukulele-playing or any number of other activities. He’ll be opening the fayre at 10am, so go and shake his hand – he’ll be pleased to meet you.

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2. Tap your feet

If you leave the Fayre without having tapped your feet, or at least drummed a rhythmic finger on your knee, then you haven’t been listening properly. Starting with the town’s brass band, followed by folk music from Odd Socks, the Shrewsbury Morris Dancers and the excellent Driftwood, you’ll have plenty of opportunities.

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3. Buy a piece of art of jewellery made within ten miles of The Wrekin

We’ll have several art, craft and jewellery stalls at the fayre, most selling items made by the people doing the selling. Support our local artisan-makers and get something unique and beautiful to keep.

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4. …And continuing that theme, tuck into a local lunch

Don’t go disappearing home when you get hungry – we’ll have all sorts to fill you up that’s been made here on our doorstep in Shropshire. For instance – you could visit Farmer Mark Yapp at his hog roast for a sizzling pork bun, a Cooper’s sausage roll and a lump of cheese from Lesley’s Larder, a pot of chutney from The Jammy Cow or umpteen of your five a day from The Secret Farm Stall.

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5. Dress up as a Georgian

Loads of us will be wandering around in period costumes in the run up to the Jubilee Procession at 1 o’clock, and you’re welcome to join us. Dressing up as a Georgian isn’t difficult. For the men: straight shoes, a baggy shirt & waistcoat, and trousers tucked into long socks will do the trick, finished off with a leather tri-corn hat if you can stretch to it (about £5 from either of the town’s party shops). For women: simply go for a blouse, shawl, long skirt and apron, plus a straw hat or bonnet of some kind if you can find one.

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My mate Tim could hardly bear to part with that black wig.

6. Buy a plant and plant it for all to see

Linda Kirby will be selling plants for parish church funds just outside the church doors – buy a couple for your garden and take a bit of the fayre home. Or even better – do something unusual and plant one just round the corner at Wellington’s Peace Garden (in front of the leisure centre on Larkin Way). There will be a mass planting between 10.30 and 12 on the day of the fayre, everyone welcome. Every time you drop into town, you can see how it’s doing. Imagine that.

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7. Pick up a piece of cake and have a good look around the church

The parish church of All Saints can look a bit austere from the outside, thanks in part to 100 years of railway soot, but inside it’s warm and welcoming – both the people and the building itself. Buy a cake from the volunteers manning the make-shift café just inside the church entrance, then take a few minutes to look around the church itself. In addition to all the fixtures and fittings – plaques to the memory of long dead townsfolk, stained glass windows and so on – there will be temporary displays about the history of the church and its very active life today.

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8. Learn to juggle

This one might be a bit ambitious if you’re starting from scratch, but we’ll have the tools and the teachers on hand, thanks to Jack the Jester and his circus troupe. They’ll be set up in the church yard as usual where you’re welcome to wander over and try your hand at a few tricks.

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9. Buy a book from Allan Frost

Allan Frost is a prolific historian and author of all things Wellingtonian. Over the last 15 years he has churned out a score of books – some large, some small – about Wellington and The Wrekin. They all include some fascinating photographs, along with some intriguing commentary – every Wellington / Telford / Shropshire home (delete as appropriate) should have at least one.

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10. Make a willow head-dress

Provided our friends from Dawley Bank Horticultural Society can make it, you’ll be able to join them and make a fine bit of Midsummer floral head gear (real flowers, by the way). Men – they look just as good on you as on the ladies, so don’t be shy. You can wash the car in it on Sunday and make your neighbours smile.

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