It is amazing to think that the Peldon May Festival – this year renamed to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations – is now in its seventh year. Initially staged to launch the Friends of St Mary’s, the festival has grown into an annual village event, centred around the church and village hall.
Last year, the May Festival raised over £2000, enabling the Friends to see the completion of essential electrical rewiring in the church, including enhanced lighting and heating. However, there are still many projects to carry out, particularly the need to install toilets and a wet area. With the aid of grants and a substantial programme of fundraising events throughout the year, the Friends are on the way to achieving this aim but there is still some long way to go, so we are hoping that the Peldon Jubilee Festival 2012 will raise even more than before.
The festivities begin on Friday evening, 1st June, with Festival Folk at The Plough, led by Keith Lovell. This proved very popular as an opening event last year, with the village community coming together to enjoy a relaxed evening of impromptu shanties and folk tunes, as well as some great food and beer. This is a free event starting at 7.30pm, but we may well shake a bucket or two and entice you to buy a ticket for the Festival Grand Draw (first prize £100 and many other fabulous prizes).
The Festival then really kicks off on Saturday at 11am with our traditional fair and family fun day in the grounds of the village hall, including craft, plant and cake stalls, demonstrations, Punch and Judy, bouncy castle, grand prize draw, tombola and a street organ complete with monkey. By popular demand, the Owl Man will be back with his amazing collection of owls and if you’d like to get close to some other fascinating creatures, Animal Experiences gives you the opportunity to handle snakes, millipedes, spiders and more! Refreshments, including a beer tent, will be available throughout the day, with Ploughman’s lunches served between 12 – 2pm, and Jubilee cream teas between 2.30 – 4pm.
As usual over the Festival weekend, St Mary’s Church will be open between 11am – 4pm on Saturday and Sunday for viewing the Flower Festival (a jubilee theme, I believe), Art and Photographic Exhibitions, and the Friends’ pictorial display of events and improvement projects. The church tower will also be open for spectacular views over to Mersea, Langenhoe and the developing Abberton Reservoir. As you make your way up or down, remember to admire the newly refurbished and reinstated Miles Gray Bell.
On Sunday 3rd June, following the Festival Thanksgiving Service at 9.30am to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Peldon once again hosts its Open Gardens event (11am – 4pm). As you enjoy the gardens, a whole host of Scarecrows – royal or otherwise, will be competing for the Jubilee crown, so watch out for them in the village and cast your vote for the winner when you return to the village hall for lunch or a jubilee cream tea, where you may also be invited to hunt the garden gnomes!
Then, for what promises to be the highlight of our Jubilee Festival weekend: a Festival Folk Concert at 7.30pm in the church, featuring The Medlars, a Colchester-based three-piece band with very diverse roots, and No Stings Attached (Gwendal Moële and Catherine Legg), an Anglo-French a capella duo, singing traditional songs in English, French and Breton – ‘quite exquisite…with beautiful harmony’. Both The Medlars and No Strings Attached have been performing to high acclaim in pubs and clubs across Essex and Suffolk. Not to be missed! Tickets £10, including light refreshments, from Bill 01206 735770 or take your chances on the door.
And finally, Monday! To draw the Festival to a close, Peldon has joined forces with Great and Little Wigborough to host a Diamond Jubilee Street Party for the children of all three villages, to be staged at Peldon village hall at 3pm. For more details contact Mel: 01206 736118.
With so much on offer, this promises to be our best Peldon Festival yet. We do hope you can join us!