62. Fetes, Fairs & Country Shows

The annual Scuttlebrook Wake in Chipping Campden has all the elements of a classic Cotswold country event. Picture © Julia Lindop The Grand Village Fete at Brimscombe has raised more than £60,000 over the past 25 years.Village fetes and country fairs are among the classic ingredients of country life and with so many wonderful small towns and villages, the Cotswolds' calendar has an abundance of such events.

Each year, determined residents of dozens of Cotswold towns and villages devote themselves to organising a traditional fete or show, usually in the summer months, to raise funds for worthy local causes.

An outstanding example of how such events bring communities together is the Grand Village Fete, which has been held in Brimscombe, near Stroud, for the past 25 years on the Brimscombe and Thrupp Playing Fields.

The event, which has been organised by Brimscombe resident Elizabeth Peters since it was launched inThe South Cerney Street Fair & Duck Race is another favourite Cotswold event. 1989, has raised well over £60,000 for local schools and other causes in that time.

The 2014 Grand Village Fete, held in May, raised over £7,000 and was opened by local MP Neil Carmichael who launched 100 balloons. The fete included the traditional judging of the May Queen as well as other favourite events included a fancy dress competition, knobbly knees contest and juggling and doughnut eating competitions.

But the star of the show was British Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell OBE who signed autographs and instructed the children on how to row.

Other fetes and shows held annual across the Cotswolds include those at Ebrington, Kemble, Bisley, The Scuttlebrook Wake Queen and her attendants parade in Chipping Campden. Picture © Julia LindopCompton Abdale, Whittington and Stanway. Each event has its own distinct character and includes special ingredients that make it distinct from others.

The South Cerney Street Fair & Duck Race, held on the late May Bank Holiday Monday, includes stalls, fair rides, bouncy castle, live music, entertainment, as well as the village's famous Duck Race.

In Chipping Campden, the day after the famous Robert Dover's Cotswold Olimpicks, the town square is the scene of the Scuttlebrook Wake, which includes a procession of decorated floats, a fancy dress parade and the crowning of the Scuttlebrook Wake Queen.

While many Cotswold villages organise traditional annual fetes, some towns and larger villages stage country shows during the summer, including the Stroud Country Show in July, the Berkeley Agricultural Show and the Winchcombe Country Show, both held on August Bank Holiday Monday in 2014, while the popular Frampton Country Fair takes place at Frampton-on-Severn in September.

Winchcombe Country Show epitomises the spirit of Cotswold summer events with every penny made, after costs have been covered, going back to the community.

Sarah Day, chairman and secretary of the show, said: "It's a community event run by the community and used by the community. That's why people come. 

"The first show was held about 60 years ago and attracted about 30 visitors, but last year there were about 4,000 people and we made about £10,000."
Chipping Campden folk give a special tribute to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War during the 2014 Scuttlebrook Wake. Picture © Julia LindopWheelbarrow racing fun at the Winchcombe Country Show.
© Loving The Cotswolds. 2018.