Yesterday (Sunday 2nd December), saw the biggest ever Bude Christmas Fayre to date, held across two buildings this year due to the sheer number of stalls and activities!
The Bude Christmas Fayre, organised by Bude-Stratton Town Council, was held across both the Parkhouse Centre and The Castle this year. The Castle, with Santa and his grotto, the Singing and Storytelling room, and the Christmas Arts and Crafts room – was more focused on children and families, whereas the Parkhouse Centre – with its live festive music, delectable food and stalls to browse – was suited to just about everyone.
There were over 50 stalls attending the fayre from a range of local businesses and organisations, including some well-known names like La Bocca Pizza Kitchen, Friends of Bude Sea Pool, Tim Martindale Photography, ReFILL, Helen Shingler Art, and Sweet P Chocolatiers.
But the fayre also provided an opportunity for lesser-known and smaller businesses to showcase their products, too. Stalls were priced at just £35 a table, making it affordable promotional platform for all.
“We were able to save some costs by having the fayre indoors this year,” says Event Organiser Carolyn Seager, “Previously we had hired marquees to allow us to hold the event outside. This not only proved to be costly, but the marquees weren’t always weather-proof!” She alludes to the previous year’s difficulties with gusty weather.
“We saved money this year by holding it across the Town Council owned buildings – the Parkhouse Centre and The Castle. The stalls have always been reasonably priced, but this year we could further reduce the price for stallholders, and this has had a fantastic response – it’s helped even the smallest of businesses have the chance to attend the fayre. And of course, this is one of our key objectives with the Bude Christmas Fayre – supporting our town and its businesses.”
But the day wasn’t solely about local businesses and shopping, the fayre proved hugely popular with local children too – thanks to a team of brilliant volunteers, there was an array of free activities to get stuck into up at The Castle. With no charges involved, it meant everyone was able to enjoy the day.
“Again, this is what the fayre is all about, community.” says Carolyn, “An all-inclusive event for everyone to enjoy. It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve got at our Bude Christmas Fayre.”
Santa could be seen waving from the top of The Castle, waiting to greet children to ask what they’d like for Christmas. He gave out free ‘Moo-Free’ chocolates to children, and also free wooden Christmas tree decorations, that children could then decorate downstairs in the Christmas Arts and Crafts room.
There was more fun to be had at The Castle with face painting and interactive singing workshops, including a ‘Sing and Sign’ singalong for children with com¬munication difficulties and additional needs. There was a Christmas wish list writing station too, and a magic post-box where children could mail their letters right to the Elf Manufacturing Headquarters in the North Pole. There was also storytelling sessions with famous children’s author Ellie Jackson, whose books aim to educate children about the impact of plastic on the ocean’s ecosystems.
Michael Liz Curtis who attended the fayre with his four year old granddaughter said, “We really enjoyed the stories by Ellie Jackson. My granddaughter is now going to do a beach clean in Exmouth!”
Later in the day, Santa gave out even more gifts as part of the under 11’s Christmas tree competition, sponsored by Toymaster in Bude. Earlier in November, children were invited to decorate a 4ft plywood Christmas Tree cut-out. The winning trees were chosen by Toymaster on the day of the fayre, then a range of presents were awarded on-stage to the creative local children, including a shiny red remote control convertible for one lucky boy.
The spirit of Christmas was felt throughout the day – it was truly a day of giving. Particularly so with the collection for Bude Food Bank, which over the course of the day, grew and grew. Hundreds of pounds worth of food was donated by the kind people of Bude to ensure that everyone in Bude could enjoy scrumptious food this Christmas.
Susan Jarvis, who manages the food bank said, “Once again, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of Bude. Thank you so much everyone for your kindness.”
Over the day, well over 1000 visitors came to The Castle, and even more attended the Parkhouse Centre, and it proved to be one of the most popular events ever held by the Town Council.
Bude-Stratton Town Council Mayor Bob Willingham said, “What a fantastic day it has been at the Bude Christmas Fayre. Both the Parkhouse Centre and The Castle were crammed full of stalls and customers. Thank you to the Town Council staff who have worked so well to make this event a success.”