Today GD, myself, Julian and Jazz my son and daughter in law, traveled up the coast about a thirty five minute drive from Portreath to Wadebridge for the annual Cornish Winter Fair. GD and I were not sure what to expect from this event, but as we approached the grounds it was obviously going to be well supported and a popular event for Cornwall. The grounds were easy to locate and well sign posted. We joined a queue which was moving briskly and guided by army cadets to a parking space on a field not far at all from the actual event. Even though it was raining and wet the grass was not too muddy and there were lots of tarmacked pathways leading to the covered barn which was huge.
The entrance was welcoming and prettily decked out with plants, we were handed a free event brochure and the event itself was free but there was a donation well which many people were popping pound coins and five pounds notes into. There was a block of loos just outside that actual entrance that were permanent and spotless and plenty of them so no queuing necessary.
Once inside we were happy to see lots of places to buy local foods and also hot foods and drinks and a central seating area with tables, benches and chairs to sit at.
First stop was the sheep pens where the judging was already underway, as the sheep were led right by us into the ring we were really up close. Some of the sheep looked really cuddly and woolly, some petite and dainty, others lean and sleek.
GD and I chose our favourite pair and lo and behold they were judged top.
We wandered around the stalls for a while, where many people were displaying Christmas produce and crafts, ornaments for the tree, decorations and bunting, jams, pickle, chutneys and cheeses, bracelets, artwork, books and toys.
Farther round were ladies spinning wool,
a full sized mechanical cow that you could practice your milking technique out on,
a beautiful horse whose name needed to be guessed to win a prize,
a machine to show how eggs are sized and some chicks chirping way under a heat lamp,
and some rare bread goats,
a stall showing how honey is made and collected,
a wood stool that explained the difference between the woods that were sold for burning,
near them a wood craft stall with home turned bowls and chopping boards and egg cups.
At the end of the barn there were the showing tables, roped off for the moment while the judges wandered around deep in discussion.
I’v never seen such a large area given over to local judging, tables and tables laid out, with so many categories.
There were children’s entries too, photographs, crafts and baking.
There was even judging for odd shaped vegetables, I think this carrot deserved first place for the most mixed up veg.
The wine table looked very impressive.
The quilting wall was beautiful.
Being a veggie I wasn’t crazy about all the meat hanging along the wall, but I do cook meat for everyone else and I appreciate when farmers have good animal husbandry and it shows in the carcass. I also get conflicted about the whole animal judging and such like, but that is matter for a different blog.
By now it was midday and tummies were rumbling so the others had a locally produced pulled pork roll which looked really good from all the munching and smiling that was going on around me and I had a veggie pasty which I thoroughly enjoyed.
With tummies full we went along to view the results of the judged produce and crafts. It was great fun as we walked along thinking oh yes that was good or what is going on I could do that much better!. GD and I certainly have come home with some craft ideas we want to give a go to and maybe we will be selling some homemade crafts and produce next year from our village hall event.
On the way out we stopped for a while to see the judging of the cattle, magnificent creatures, with such beautiful eyes, I can see why in India they are revered.
As we left mid afternoon people were still arriving, extra car parking space had been opened up farther down the back fields and I thought this is a Cornwall people showing their produce and their crafts and their skills, it was a great coming together of the Cornwall community and I am very glad we got to go today.
Don’t forget it is stir it up Sunday tomorrow !
‘Stir–up Sunday, always the last Sunday before Advent, takes its name from a prayer said in the Anglican church, which begins: ‘Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord…’The words remind churchgoers to start stirring up their plum pudding so it has time to mature before Christmas Day’. stir it ref waitrose.