The Henley calendar wouldn’t be the same if the lovely traditional Harpsden Fete on Father’s Day wasn’t on it each year. This year again saw saw hundreds of Dads enjoying it on Sunday.
The dog show too is another big draw for the fete with fun categories of Looks Like Owner, Waggiest Tail, Best Paw Shake and Dog the Judge Would Like to Take Home. This year the show was judged by James Thomas from Dogs of Henley (daycare and boarding). Winner of Looks Like Owner was won by Alan Campbell who convinced James that Emerald his bulldog had a similar set to him – big shoulders and long legs! Alison Watson was delighted that her dog Sybil won the waggiest tail category as it was the first time at the show. She said, “Amazing to win but she definitely needs a bit more training.” After much deliberation James chose Nutmeg to be the dog he would most like to take home. Sam Webb said, “I didn’t know what to call her and then I saw a sign for a restaurant which inspired me.”
There were all the traditional stalls like hoopla, coconut shy, toy tombola, skittles, books, cakes etc. as well as new for this year inflatable zorb balls. A spirited competition for a very special bottle of Moët on the hoop-la brought the loudest cheer of the day for young Orla who fittingly had spent a large part of her afternoon keeping the stall busy. Dr Langley from Bell Surgery was at the hoopla helping to direct his daughter. His wife, Henry said, “Not all the children are here today but we’ve brought them for many years. The twins who are 15 are away on a DoE trip this weekend and were disappointed they couldn’t come.”
Oojamaflip Circus as always provided lots of circus toys to play which proved popular with the Dads all having a go.
The popular Dancing Divas kept the audience entertained with the little ones predictably stealing the show followed swiftly by Darryl’s Dad’s Band (Mrs Gavin’s Sacred Heart Dad Band) making their Harpsden debut singing a great range of popular foot tapping songs which went down a storm.
Jane Burtt, organiser of the fete said, “We were so pleased with the whole afternoon having spent a somewhat depressingly soggy morning setting up under the well oiled machine which is Jon Moulds and his team of village chaps. 3 gazebos leapt from their moorings leaving the stalls open to the elements but in true character all ploughed on cheerfully, and at midday, just before the opening, the clouds parted and we had sun for much of the very happy afternoon.
Highlights as ever included the dog show with Sally Birkett taking over for regular Sue Leeman who roped in the wonderful James Thomas of local Doggy Day Care fame who brought along his own brand of humour.
The bar ran dry prompting a trip down the road to beg and borrow from the Cricket Club, the stalls were busy all afternoon. This year there was a children’s tug of war, followed by Dads, next year Mums?
All round a splendid day, raising over £5,000 for Harpsden good causes. We are looking for a new group to organise next year for fresh ideas and new enthusiasm, whilst keeping all the popular traditions that have seen the same folk returning year after year.”
The fete ended with the traditional children’s races and the tug of war. The winners of the races were:
12 years – James Edgell
10 years – Charlie Edgell
9 years – Elysia Chilvers
8 years – Freddie Bertoli
7 years – Isabella Stobie–Smith
6 years – Georgia Ferguson
5 years – Conan Feversani Gallagher
4 years – Arabella Friend
3 years (first race) – Conor Ferversani Gallagher
3 years (second race) – Phoebe Friend
2 years – Alexander Cooke
Fathers Race – Archie Speirs