What a day we had! The early morning weather was beautiful and by eight o'clock the Green was buzzing with people putting up gazebos for their stalls, blowing up the bouncy castles, setting up the stage and sound system and marking out with bunting for the car park and dog show. Proceedings kicked off with the musicians and singers from the churches warming up the congregation ready for the service. The Bishop of Stockport, Sam Corley, conducted a delightfully informal, musical service led by a team of juniors, which concluded with a sermon that included the story of Fluffy the lost sheep and the parable of the prodigal son.
After the service activities got into full swing, the bouncy castles opened for bouncing and the dog show, which attracted a lot of interest from dog owners and spectators alike, got underway. The smoke from lighting the BBQ gave us a taste of things to come. There were stalls selling a wide range of lovely things from bird boxes to Malaysian curry pastes, from jigsaw puzzles to jam.
By midday there was a range of food and drink on offer including the cider bar, soft drinks, tea and coffee, plates full of delicious cakes, the BBQ, pizza and ice cream. On the stage we were entertained by the Vale Royal Singers and treated to a display of dancing by students of all ages of the Janis Anderson Dance School.
At two o'clock the bands started to perform on the stage, once the evidently fiendishly complicated sound system had been mastered. The sun was shining, spirits were high, the music was in full swing, a lot of people were having a lot of fun when, at four o'clock, the black clouds which had been approaching from Wales for a while, finally burst and we had the mother and father of all thunder storms. The rain cleared the Green in minutes with people sheltering where they could, the lucky ones in the cider tent or the Morris Dancer. As was the case in the sinking of the Titanic, the band played on heroically, albeit somewhat sheltered by the stage. It was fitting that the day that had started with a Church service should include a tempest of biblical magnitude accompanied by a minor flood. King Charles, whose coronation was being celebrated after the late Queen's Jubilee celebration had to be cancelled last year, was present in the form of a cardboard cutout. Unfortunately, the rain reduced His Majesty to papier mâché.
By five o'clock it was summer again, the sky was blue, the sun was shining and progressively the arena filled again with people having a drink and listening to the music, just in time for the arrival of Elvis. Bouncing started again in the castles once they had dried out and the party went on as if nothing had happened. The music stopped at eight o'clock, people drifted away, the clearing up started and on Monday morning the Green looked as though nothing had happened.
But what had happened was that the village had come out in droves to celebrate, have fun and be a community. It was truly heartwarming to see it and be part of it.
Thanks must go to everyone who played a part in making it such a success. First of all, to the members of the organising committee who have worked hard for over two years to bring it to fruition. It had its origins in a Parish Council survey which revealed, amongst other things, that the residents of the Parish would like to see more events on the Green. Humphrey Claxton picked this request up and ran with it through a number of iterations of both ideas and committee members. It would not have happened without the energy and enthusiasm of Bob Whitney and the project management skills of Angus Littlefield. Jakes deKock organised all the music, amongst many other things, which was absolutely fundamental to its enjoyment and success. Delia Cox organised all the stalls; Annette Alsop led on Risk Management; Sarah Womack took the minutes, organised the raffle and the First Aid; Phil Littler looked after the bouncy castles; Jo Southall who did all the graphic design and publicity materials; Natalie Read who paid all the bills and made sure that everything was working on and around the Green; Janice Aitken and Sue Clifton who organised the Churches' side of
things; Charlie Fuller for the dog show, and Terry and Angela Harrop with their vast experience of organising things in the village. Although each member of the Committee led on something, the teamwork as the programme for the day evolved, problems were identified and solutions found, was exceptional.
These are not the only people involved in the organisation and those who volunteered on the day played an important part and should be thanked; as should all those who brought their stalls, their music, their catering, their toilets and all the things without which the event was not possible.
We should not forget The National Lottery Communities Fund, whose grant funded the basic costs of staging the event, nor KADRAS itself which has supported in a number of ways.
The bottom line is that, thanks to a lot of work done by a lot of people, we had a most enjoyable day that really brought our community together and gave joy. Since an event like this depends entirely on volunteers, whether we have another one next year depends on whether we have the volunteers to organise it. We can't assume that the same people are going to do it year after year. If you would like to volunteer to help, please contact Humphrey Claxton at email@example.com or on 752905. To see the full list of stalls and entertainment please visit www.kelfest.co.uk