If it’s the 2nd Tuesday in September, then it’s Widecombe Fair ….. every year.
The DPA had its usual presence, near the Main Ring.
There is a lot involved with the fair – the first order of the day is to make sure that the DPA stand is set up and presented as temptingly as we can make it, to attract interest from the people passing by. Also, we keep fairly busy and there are parts of the fair that we don’t normally see – on the village green, for instance, or even all parts of the main field that we are in! This means there are events that this blog doesn’t encompass – the beer tent and folk music are scheduled in the programme to run up to midnight!
The programme lists five display rings, although Rings 1 – 3 are formed by dividing up the Main Ring with tape fences, this is so as to include all the listed activities, although the divisions are removed during the day. Ring 4 is at the bottom of the field, under the trees. This is where sheep and cattle are housed, shown and judged. Ring 5 was close to where we were, at the top of the main field. This is for dog shows, Morris dancing, children’s races and events, dog and duck demonstrations, dog agility, etc, and towards the end of the day – bale tossing and tug-of-war (this is scheduled in the programme at 1900, i.e. 7 pm).
One of the DPA’s most popular sales items is the Christmas cards – and there is one volunteer who spends most of the day actively promoting these!
I haven’t mentioned the weather yet, and I could leave it like that! It was not a great day for weather, although it didn’t really rain. It was grey and mist can be seen in some photographs. At least, there were brighter periods (of dull) at times through the day.
The traction engine above was very near to where we were – and I believe it led the parade of machinery – as it did in 2017.
The top plaque states: Chas Burrell & Sons Ltd,, Manufacturers, Thetford, England, No. 2644. The lower plaque: Burrell’s Patent Compound Engine. I have an interest in traction engines from my childhood when my father used to hire one to come and pass hot steam through piled-up soil in his greenhouses to sterilise it against Botritis, or grey mould, that could ruin a crop of tomatoes.
The presence of the church towers says that this can only be Widecombe …..
The Church of St. Pancras, Widecombe, is so impressive for a moorland church that it is known as the Cathedral of the Moor.
Dartmoor Magazine is another regular display at Widecombe Fair.
I never realised there could be so many red Vintage Austin 7’s …..
There is always a good display of Austin 7’s.
In the livestock part of the Fair, there are three sections for sheep, Greyface Dartmoors, a rare breed …..
and Whiteface Dartmoors.
The Whiteface is a breed “At Risk” and unusually for an upland sheep it is classified as a “longwool” sheep.
Children’s Mounted Fancy Dress event – some riding backwards, to instil confidence!
I didn’t get to the sheep-shearing competition this year, always a good event for our more urban cousins to see.
A clothing display.
The photograph above shows the gazebos in the smaller field next to the main showground.
Berni, Val, Derek and Claude caught in a quiet moment – I had to wait a while to get them on their own.
The beer tent held the stage for the folk music. The Folk at the Fair event ran from 10.00 am to midnight, with the coverage in the programme covering almost four pages. As I said at the top of the page – there are a lot things that I can’t do justice to in this blog. This is almost a standalone event.
There are a lot of trophies awarded during the day. There are 20 pony classes, 10 cattle classes and 29 different classes for sheep in the programme.
The masterful announcer is one of the things that “makes” Widecombe Fair what it is.
The Widecombe Fair programme has a section at the back about the history of the fair, and says that Uncle Tom Cobley and his friends went to it from Spreyton* in 1802. The Fair could be a lot older than that. It was originally a livestock fair where animals were bought and sold, depending on what supplies were available that year (food and fodder) and how many animals could be fed during the coming winter.
* Spreyton is approximately 6 miles east of Okehampton, north of today’s A30, 12 miles from Widecombe, as the crow flies.
That was Widecombe Fair, 2018.