Enjoy the fun of Wokingham May Fair 2011By Caroline Cook
April 28, 2011
Whatever the weather, the Wokingham May Fair promises to be full of fun, fun, fun. Caroline Cook is our May Queen
With the sun dazzling the streets of Wokingham and experts predicting one of the hottest Aprils on record, organisers will be hoping that the forecast for this year’s May Fayre is hopefully one of shorts, shades – and a good helping of fun in the sun.
Organisers from the Wokingham Lions Club are hoping for a bumper year as the crowds flock to the town centre to enjoy the annual May Fayre which will see the town transformed into a colourful wonderland of games and activities on Monday.
As the sun comes up the fayre organisers will be out at 6am working their magic on the town centre to get it ready for the thousands of people who will be coming along for the day.
Each year, around 20,000 enjoy their bank holiday wandering among the stalls and watching the performances at the May Fayre but if the April heatwave returns for Monday, organisers predict numbers could reach 25,000 or more.
Sue Balchin, from the Wokingham Lions Club, says: “It’s been running for 17 years after it took over from the donkey derby.
“It’s just got bigger and bigger and bigger.
“Originally it was meant to be a May Day event with a Maypole and dancers but we discovered it was not that easy to find a Maypole – and then when we found that it was not so easy to get the dancers.
“It’s lovely. There’s a buzz and a hum and everyone comes out for the day.”
During the day visitors can enjoy a whole host of fun and games from 10am to 5pm, stretching from an open air stage in Denmark Street across to a tea tent and crafts in Elms Field.
Among those taking to the stage will be the world’s funniest violinist, promising a giggle a minute set to a musical backdrop, along with the Razzamataz Theatre School and the Noteperfect Youth Choir.
As the sounds of summer music float through the town centre people will also be able to try their luck on various games at stalls which will be tucked into every nook and cranny in the town centre.
In keeping with the traditional May Fayre there will also be a magic show and Punch and Judy in Erfstadt Court as well some more unusual entertainment.
“We have always had ferret racing,” says Sue, explaining about the more unique activity which will be going on in Elms Field.
“There will usually be six ferrets and people can go along and look at them and hold them. Then they have the race where they put them in drain pipes.”
The Cultural Partnership will also be back at the fayre once again this year with their hands-on arts pavilion offering a chance for people to get creative.
And for those hoping to relax from the hustle and bustle there will also be The Lions tea tent, with a refreshing drink on hand to cool visitors down if the weather proves to be a scorcher.
But, as Sue explains, even if the sun stays behind the clouds on the day, the fayre is still set to get crowds out into Wokingham.
“We have had a number of rainy days but people still come out in their thousands, they just come along with their umbrellas as well,” says Sue.
“We’ve had some very rainy years – I think I’ve been the wettest I have ever been. We even had snow once, but it is always fantastic.
“I think the biggest thing of all is it’s possible for a family in hard times to come out and not spend any money.
“I know there will be the pressure from the children for an ice cream but it’s seriously possible for the whole family to enjoy lots of entertainment and all sorts of things for no cost.”
With free parking, free entry and free entertainment the day offers a bumper package of bank holiday entertainment without a price tag attached.
The Wokingham May Fayre proudly holds the accolade of being the largest street fayre in the South of England and with such a vast selection of entertainment and games on offer it looks as though it could also be the best.
- For more details, log on to www.wokinghamlions.org.uk